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

Previous | Next

laws (books 7 - 12)   

protection in such cases. He who sells anything above the value of
fifty drachmas shall be required to remain in the city for ten days,
and the purchaser shall be informed of the house of the seller, with a
view to the sort of charges which are apt to arise in such cases,
and the restitutions which the law allows. And let legal restitution
be on this wise:-If a man sells a slave who is in a consumption, or
who has the disease of the stone, or of strangury, or epilepsy, or
some other tedious and incurable disorder of body or mind, which is
not discernible to the ordinary man, if the purchaser be a physician
or trainer, he shall have no right of restitution; nor shall there
be any right of restitution if the seller has told the truth
beforehand to the buyer. But if a skilled person sells to another
who is not skilled, let the buyer appeal for restitution within six
months, except in the case of epilepsy, and then the appeal may be
made within a year. The cause shall be determined by such physicians
as the parties may agree to choose; and the defendant, if he lose
the suit, shall pay double the price at which he sold. If a private
person sell to another private person, he shall have the right of
restitution, and the decision shall be given as before, but the
defendant, if he be cast, shall only pay back the price of the
slave. If a person sells a homicide to another, and they both know
of the fact, let there be no restitution in such a case, but if he
do not know of the fact, there shall be a right of restitution,
whenever the buyer makes the discovery; and the decision shall rest
with the five youngest guardians of the law, and if the decision be
that the seller was cognisant the fact, he shall purify the house of
the purchaser, according to the law of the interpreters, and shall pay
back three times the purchase-money.
If man exchanges either money for money, or anything whatever for
anything else, either with or without life, let him give and receive
them genuine and unadulterated, in accordance with the law. And let us
have a prelude about all this sort of roguery, like the preludes of
our other laws. Every man should regard adulteration as of one and the
same class with falsehood and deceit, concerning which the many are
too fond of saying that at proper times and places the practice may
often be right. But they leave the occasion, and the when, and the
where, undefined and unsettled, and from this want of definiteness
in their language they do a great deal of harm to themselves and to
others. Now a legislator ought not to leave the matter undetermined;
he ought to prescribe some limit, either greater or less. Let this
be the rule prescribed:-No one shall call the Gods to witness, when he
says or does anything false or deceitful or dishonest, unless he would
be the most hateful of mankind to them. And he is most hateful to them
takes a false oath, and pays no heed to the Gods; and in the next
degree, he who tells a falsehood in the presence of his superiors. Now
better men are the superiors of worse men, and in general elders are
the superiors of the young; wherefore also parents are the superiors
of their off spring, and men of women and children, and rulers of
their subjects; for all men ought to reverence any one who is in any
position of authority, and especially those who are in state
offices. And this is the reason why I have spoken of these matters.
For every one who is guilty of adulteration in the agora tells a
falsehood, and deceives, and when he invokes the Gods, according to
the customs and cautions of the wardens of the agora, he does but
swear without any respect for God or man. Certainly, it is an
excellent rule not lightly to defile the names of the Gods, after
the fashion of men in general, who care little about piety and
purity in their religious actions. But if a man will not conform to
this rule, let the law be as follows:-He who sells anything in the
agora shall not ask two prices for that which he sells, but he shall
ask one price, and if he do not obtain this, he shall take away his
goods; and on that day he shall not value them either at more or less;
and there shall be no praising of any goods, or oath taken about them.
If a person disobeys this command, any citizen who is present, not

Previous | Next
Site Search