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laws (books 7 - 12)   


are not sorry for the act. And, therefore, we must assume that these
homicides are of two kinds, both of them arising from passion, which
may be justly said to be in a mean between the voluntary and
involuntary; at the same time, they are neither of them anything
more than a likeness or shadow of either. He who treasures up his
anger, and avenges himself, not immediately and at the moment, but
with insidious design, and after an interval, is like the voluntary;
but he who does not treasure up his anger, and takes vengeance on
the instant, and without malice prepense, approaches to the
involuntary; and yet even he is not altogether involuntary, but only
the image or shadow of the involuntary; wherefore about homicides
committed in hot blood, there is a difficulty in determining whether
in legislating we shall reckon them as voluntary or as partly
involuntary. The best and truest view is to regard them respectively
as likenesses only of the voluntary and involuntary, and to
distinguish them accordingly as they are done with or without
premeditation. And we should make the penalties heavier for those
who commit homicide with angry premeditation, and lighter for those
who do not premeditate, but smite upon the instant; for that which
is like a greater evil should be punished more severely, and that
which is like a less evil should be punished less severely: this shall
be the rule of our laws.
Cle. Certainly.
Ath. Let us proceed:-If any one slays a free man with his own
hand, and the deed be done in a moment of anger, and without
premeditation, let the offender suffer in other respects as the
involuntary homicide would have suffered, and also undergo an exile of
two years, that he may learn to school his passions. But he who
slays another from passion, yet with premeditation, shall in other
respects suffer as the former; and to this shall be added an exile
of three instead of two years-his punishment is to be longer because
his passion is greater. The manner of their return shall be on this
wise: (and here the law has difficulty in determining exactly; for
in some cases the murderer who is judged by the law to be the worse
may really be the less cruel, and he who is judged the less cruel
may be really the worse, and may have executed the murder in a more
savage manner, whereas the other may have been gentler. But in general
the degrees of guilt will be such as we have described them. Of all
these things the guardians of the law must take cognisance):-When a
homicide of either kind has completed his term of exile, the guardians
shall send twelve judges to the borders of the land; these during
the interval shall have informed themselves of the actions of the
criminals, and they shall judge respecting their pardon and reception;
and the homicides shall abide by their judgment. But if after they
have returned home, any one of them in a moment of anger repeats the
deed, let him be an exile, and return no more; or if he returns, let
him suffer as the stranger was to suffer in a similar case. He who
kills his own slave shall undergo a purification, but if he kills
the slave of another in anger, he shall pay twice the amount of the
loss to his owner. And if any homicide is disobedient to the law,
and without purification pollutes the agora, or the games, or the
temples, he who pleases may bring to trial the next of kin to the dead
man for permitting him, and the murderer with him, and may compel
the one to exact and the other to suffer a double amount of fines
and purifications; and the accuser shall himself receive the fine in
accordance with the law. If a slave in a fit of passion kills his
master, the kindred of the deceased man may do with the murderer
(provided only they do not spare his life) whatever they please, and
they will be pure; or if he kills a freeman, who is not his master,
the owner shall give up the slave to the relatives of the deceased,
and they shall be under an obligation to put him to death, but this
may be done in any manner which they please.
And if (which is a rare occurrence, but does sometimes happen) a
father or a mother in a moment of passion slays a son or daughter by

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