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



Previous | Next
                  

laws (books 7 - 12)   


defendant, and let all the citizens who can spare time hear and take a
serious interest in listening to such causes. First of all the
plaintiff shall make one speech, and then the defendant shall make
another; and after the speeches have been made the eldest judge
shall begin to examine the parties, and proceed to make an adequate
enquiry into what has been said; and after the oldest has spoken,
the rest shall proceed in order to examine either party as to what
he finds defective in the evidence, whether of statement or
omission; and he who has nothing to ask shall hand over the
examination to another. And on so much of what has been said as is
to the purpose all the judges shall set their seals, and place the
writings on the altar of Hestia. On the next day they shall meet
again, and in like manner put their questions and go through the
cause, and again set their seals upon the evidence; and when they have
three times done this, and have had witnesses and evidence enough,
they shall each of them give a holy vote, after promising by Hestia
that they will decide justly and truly to the utmost of their power;
and so they shall put an end to the suit.
Next, after what relates to the Gods, follows what relates to the
dissolution of the state:-Whoever by promoting a man to power enslaves
the laws, and subjects the city to factions, using violence and
stirring up sedition contrary to law, him we will deem the greatest
enemy of the whole state. But he who takes no part in such
proceedings, and, being one of the chief magistrates of the state, has
no knowledge of the treason, or, having knowledge of it, by reason
of cowardice does not interfere on behalf of his country, such an
one we must consider nearly as bad. Every man who is worth anything
will inform the magistrates, and bring the conspirator to trial for
making a violent and illegal attempt to change the government. The
judges of such cases shall be the same as of the robbers of temples;
and let the whole proceeding be carried on in the same way, and the
vote of the majority condemn to death. But let there be a general
rule, that the disgrace and punishment of the father is not to be
visited on the children, except in the case of some one whose
father, grandfather, and great-grandfather have successively undergone
the penalty of death. Such persons the city shall send away with all
their possessions to the city and country of their ancestors,
retaining only and wholly their appointed lot. And out of the citizens
who have more than one son of not less than ten years of age, they
shall select ten whom their father or grandfather by the mother's or
father's side shall appoint, and let them send to Delphi the names
of those who are selected, and him whom the God chooses they shall
establish as heir of the house which has failed; and may he have
better fortune than his predecessors!
Cle. Very good.
Ath. Once more let there be a third general law respecting the
judges who are to give judgment, and the manner of conducting suits
against those who are tried on an accusation of treason; and as
concerning the remaining or departure of their descendants-there shall
be one law for all three, for the traitor, and the robber of
temples, and the subverter by violence of the laws of the state. For a
thief, whether he steal much or little, let there be one law, and
one punishment for all alike: in the first place, let him pay double
the amount of the theft if he be convicted, and if he have so much
over and above the allotment;-if he have not, he shall be bound
until he pay the penalty, or persuade him has obtained the sentence
against him to forgive him. But if a person be convicted of a theft
against the state, then if he can persuade the city, or if he will pay
back twice the amount of the theft, he shall be set free from his
bonds.
Cle. What makes you say, Stranger, that a theft is all one,
whether the thief may have taken much or little, and either from
sacred or secular places-and these are not the only differences in
thefts:-seeing, then, that they are of many kinds, ought not the

Previous | Next
Site Search