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



Previous | Next
                  

laws (books 7 - 12)   


with the excess; and then including all the rest they shall again
vote, until there are left three having an unequal number of votes.
But if all the three, or two out of the three, have equal votes, let
them commit the election to good fate and fortune, and separate off by
lot the first, and the second, and the third; these they shall crown
with an olive wreath and give them the prize of excellence, at the
same time proclaiming to all the world that the city of the
Magnetes, by providence of the Gods, is again preserved, and
presents to the Sun and to Apollo her three best men as
first-fruits, to be a common offering to them, according to the
ancient law, as long as their lives answer to the judgment formed of
them. And these shall appoint in their first year twelve examiners, to
continue until each has completed seventy-five years, to whom three
shall afterwards be added yearly; and let these divide all the
magistracies into twelve parts, and prove the holders of them by every
sort of test to which a freeman may be subjected; and let them live
while they hold office in the precinct of Helios and Apollo, in
which they were chosen, and let each one form a judgment of some
things individually, and of others in company with his colleagues; and
let him place a writing in the agora about each magistracy, and what
the magistrate ought to suffer or pay, according to the decision of
the examiners. And if a magistrate does not admit that he has been
justly judged, let him bring the examiners before the select judges,
and if he be acquitted by their decision, let him, if he will,
accuse the examiners themselves; if, however, he be convicted, and
have been condemned to death by the examiners, let him die (and of
course he can only die once):-but any other penalties which admit of
being doubled let him suffer twice over.
And now let us pass under review the examiners themselves; what will
their examination be, and how conducted? During the life of these men,
whom the whole state counts worthy of the rewards of virtue, they
shall have the first seat at all public assemblies, and at all
Hellenic sacrifices and sacred missions, and other public and holy
ceremonies in which they share. The chiefs of each sacred mission
shall be selected from them, and they only of all the citizens shall
be adorned with a crown of laurel; they shall all be priests of Apollo
and Helios; and one of them, who is judged first of the priests
created in that year, shall be high priest; and they shall write up
his name in each year to be a measure of time as long as the city
lasts; and after their death they shall be laid out and carried to the
grave and entombed in a manner different from the other citizens. They
shall be decked in a robe all of white, and there shall be no crying
or lamentation over them; but a chorus of fifteen maidens, and another
of boys, shall stand around the bier on either side, hymning the
praises of the departed priests in alternate responses, declaring
their blessedness in song all day long; and at dawn a hundred of the
youths who practise gymnastic and whom the relations of the departed
shall choose, shall carry the bier to the sepulchre, the young men
marching first, dressed in the garb of warriors-the cavalry with their
horses, the heavy-armed with their arms, and the others in like
manner. And boys neat the bier and in front of it shall sing their
national hymn, and maidens shall follow behind, and with them the
women who have passed the age of childbearing; next, although they are
interdicted from other burials, let priests and priestesses follow,
unless the Pythian oracle forbid them; for this burial is free from
pollution. The place of burial shall be an oblong vaulted chamber
underground, constructed of tufa, which will last for ever, having
stone couches placed side by side. And here they will lay the
blessed person, and cover the sepulchre with a circular mound of earth
and plant a grove of trees around on every side but one; and on that
side the sepulchre shall be allowed to extend for ever, and a new
mound will not be required. Every year they shall have contests in
music and gymnastics, and in horsemanship, in honour of the dead.
These are the honours which shall be given to those who at the

Previous | Next
Site Search