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Pages of laws (books 7 - 12)



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laws (books 7 - 12)   


who are near at the time be inhabitants of the same place, whether
they be youths, or men, or women, let them come to the rescue and
denounce him as the impious one; and he who does not come to the
rescue shall fall under the curse of Zeus, the God of kindred and of
ancestors, according to law. And if any one is found guilty of
assaulting a parent, let him in the first place be for ever banished
from the city into the country, and let him abstain from the
temples; and if he do not abstain, the wardens of the country shall
punish him with blows, or in any way which they please, and if he
return he shall be put to death. And if any freeman eat or drink, or
have any other sort of intercourse with him, or only meeting him
have voluntarily touched him, he shall not enter into any temple,
nor into the agora, nor into the city, until he is purified; for he
should consider that he has become tainted by a curse. And if he
disobeys the law, and pollutes the city and the temples contrary to
law, and one of the magistrates sees him and does not indict him, when
he gives in his account this omission shall be a most serious charge.
If a slave strike a freeman, whether a stranger or a citizen, let
any one who is present come to the rescue, or pay the penalty
already mentioned; and let the bystanders bind him, and deliver him up
to the injured person, and he receiving him shall put him in chains,
and inflict on him as many stripes as he pleases; but having
punished him he must surrender him to his master according to law, and
not deprive him of his property. Let the law be as follows:-The
slave who strikes a freeman, not at the command of the magistrates,
his owner shall receive bound from the man whom he has stricken, and
not release him until the slave has persuaded the man whom he has
stricken that he ought to be released. And let there be the same
laws about women in relation to women, about men and women in relation
to one another.

BOOK X

And now having spoken of assaults, let us sum up all acts of
violence under a single law, which shall be as follows:-No one shall
take or carry away any of his neighbour's goods, neither shall he
use anything which is his neighbour's without the consent of the
owner; for these are the offences which are and have been, and will
ever be, the source of all the aforesaid evils. The greatest of them
are excesses and insolences of youth, and are offences against the
greatest when they are done against religion; and especially great
when in violation of public and holy rites, or of the partly-common
rites in which tribes and phratries share; and in the second degree
great when they are committed against private rites and sepulchres,
and in the third degree (not to repeat the acts formerly mentioned),
when insults are offered to parents; the fourth kind of violence is
when any one, regardless of the authority of the rulers, takes or
carries away or makes use of anything which belongs to them, not
having their consent; and the fifth kind is when the violation of
the civil rights of an individual demands reparation. There should
be a common law embracing all these cases. For we have already said in
general terms what shall be the punishment of sacrilege, whether
fraudulent or violent, and now we have to determine what is to be
the punishment of those who speak or act insolently toward the Gods.
But first we must give them an admonition which may be in the
following terms:-No one who in obedience to the laws believed that
there were Gods, ever intentionally did any unholy act, or uttered any
unlawful word; but he who did must have supposed one of three
things-either that they did not exist,-which is the first possibility,
or secondly, that, if they did, they took no care of man, or
thirdly, that they were easily appeased and turned aside from their
purpose, by sacrifices and prayers.
Cleinias. What shall we say or do to these persons?
Athenian Stranger. My good friend, let us first hear the jests which

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