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Pages of laws (books 7 - 12)

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laws (books 7 - 12)   

announced by him to the guardians of the law; and let them issue
orders that he or she shall carry away their private rites to the
public temples, and if they do not persuade them, let them inflict a
penalty on them until they comply. And if a person be proven guilty of
impiety, not merely from childish levity, but such as grown-up men may
be guilty of, whether he have sacrificed publicly or privately to
any Gods, let him be punished with death, for his sacrifice is impure.
Whether the deed has been done in earnest, or only from childish
levity, let the guardians of the law determine, before they bring
the matter into court and prosecute the offender for impiety.


In the next place, dealings between man and man require to be
suitably regulated. The principle of them is very simple:-Thou shalt
not, if thou canst help, touch that which is mine, or remove the least
thing which belongs to me without my consent; and may I be of a
sound mind, and do to others as I would that they should do to me.
First, let us speak of treasure trove:-May I never pray the Gods to
find the hidden treasure, which another has laid up for himself and
his family, he not being one of my ancestors, nor lift, if I should
find, such a treasure. And may I never have any dealings with those
who are called diviners, and who in any way or manner counsel me to
take up the deposit entrusted to the earth, for I should not gain so
much in the increase of my possessions, if I take up the prize, as I
should grow in justice and virtue of soul, if I abstain; and this will
be a better possession to me than the other in a better part of
myself; for the possession of justice in the soul is preferable to the
possession of wealth. And of many things it is well said-"Move not the
immovables," and this may be regarded as one of them. And we shall
do well to believe the common tradition which says that such deeds
prevent a man from having a family. Now as to him who is careless
about having children and regardless of the legislator, taking up that
which neither he deposited, nor any ancestor of his, without the
consent of the depositor, violating the simplest and noblest of laws
which was the enactment of no mean man:-"Take not up that which was
not laid down by thee"-of him, I say, who despises these two
legislators, and takes up, not small matter which he has not
deposited, but perhaps a great heap of treasure, what he ought to
suffer at the hands of the Gods, God only knows; but I would have
the first person who sees him go and tell the wardens of the city,
if the occurrence has taken place in the city, or if the occurrence
has taken place in the agora he shall tell the wardens of the agora,
or if in the country he shall tell the wardens of the country and
their commanders. When information has been received the city shall
send to Delphi, and, whatever the God answers about the money and
the remover of the money, that the city shall do in obedience to the
oracle; the informer, if he be a freeman, shall have the honour of
doing rightly, and he who informs not, the dishonour of doing wrongly;
and if he be a slave who gives information, let him be freed, as he
ought to be, by the state, which shall give his master the price of
him; but if he do not inform he shall be punished with death. Next
in order shall follow a similar law, which shall apply equally to
matters great and small:-If a man happens to leave behind him some
part of his property, whether intentionally or unintentionally, let
him who may come upon the left property suffer it to remain,
reflecting that such things are under the protection of the Goddess of
ways, and are dedicated to her by the law. But if any one defies the
law, and takes the property home with him, let him, if the thing is of
little worth, and the man who takes it a slave, be beaten with many
stripes by him, being a person of not less than thirty years of age.
Or if he be a freeman, in addition to being thought a mean person
and a despiser of the laws, let him pay ten times the value of the
treasure which he has moved to the leaver. And if some one accuses

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