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Pages of laws (books 7 - 12)



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laws (books 7 - 12)   


buildings, near the city but outside, by those magistrates who are
appointed to superintend these matters; and they shall take care
that a stranger, whoever he be, duly receives justice; but he shall
not be allowed to make any innovation. They shall hold the intercourse
with him which is necessary, and this shall be as little as
possible. The second kind is just a spectator who comes to see with
his eyes and hear with his ears the festivals of the Muses; such ought
to have entertainment provided them at the temples by hospitable
persons, and the priests and ministers of the temples should see and
attend to them. But they should not remain more than a reasonable
time; let them see and hear that for the sake of which they came,
and then go away, neither having suffered nor done any harm. The
priests shall be their judges, if any of them receive or do any
wrong up to the sum of fifty drachmae, but if any greater charge be
brought, in such cases the suit shall come before the wardens of the
agora. The third kind of stranger is he who comes on some public
business from another land, and is to be received with public honours.
He is to be received only by the generals and commanders of horse
and foot, and the host by whom he is entertained, in conjunction
with the Prytanes, shall have the sole charge of what concerns him.
There is a fourth dass of persons answering to our spectators, who
come from another land to look at ours. In the first place, such
visits will be rare, and the visitor should be at least fifty years of
age; he may possibly be wanting to see something that is rich and rare
in other states, or himself to show something in like manner to
another city. Let such an one, then, go unbidden to the doors of the
wise and rich, being one of them himself: let him go, for example,
to the house of the superintendent of education, confident that he
is a fitting guest of such a host, or let him go to the house of
some of those who have gained the prize of virtue and hold discourse
with them, both learning from them, and also teaching them; and when
he has seen and heard all, he shall depart, as a friend taking leave
of friends, and be honoured by them with gifts and suitable tributes
of respect. These are the customs, according to which our city
should receive all strangers of either sex who come from other
countries, and should send forth her own citizens, showing respect
to Zeus, the God of hospitality, not forbidding strangers at meals and
sacrifices, as is the manner which prevails among the children of
the Nile, nor driving them away by savage proclamations.
When a man becomes surety, let him give the security in a distinct
form, acknowledging the whole transaction in a written document, and
in the presence of not less than three witnesses if the sum be under a
thousand drachmae, and of not less than five witnesses if the sum be
above a thousand drachmae. The agent of a dishonest or untrustworthy
seller shall himself be responsible; both the agent and the
principal shall be equally liable. If a person wishes to find anything
in the house of another, he shall enter naked, or wearing only a short
tunic and without a girdle, having first taken an oath by the
customary Gods that he expects to find it there; he shall then make
his search, and the other shall throw open his house and allow him
to search things both sealed and unsealed. And if a person will not
allow the searcher to make his search, he who is prevented shall go to
law with him, estimating the value of the goods after which he is
searching, and if the other be convicted he shall pay twice the
value of the article. If the master be absent from home, the
dwellers in the house shall let him search the unsealed property,
and on the sealed property the searcher shall set another seal, and
shall appoint any one whom he likes to guard them during five days;
and if the master of the house be absent during a longer time, he
shall take with him the wardens of the city, and so make his search,
opening the sealed property as well as the unsealed, and then,
together with the members of the family and the wardens of the city,
he shall seal them up again as they were before. There shall be a
limit of time in the case of disputed things, and he who has had

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