The Politics and Economics of Aristotle : translated, with notes, original and selected, and analyses, to which are prefixed an introductory essay and a life of Aristotle by Dr. Gillies online

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r a democracy or free state in place of an oligarchy; or an
iristocracy in place of these, or one of the latter instead of an
Aristocracy; and at another time without reference to the
' ^tablished government, which they wish to be still the same,

' For a further account of this relative justice, the reader is referred to
'V> Nicomach. Ethics, book r., especially chaps. 3 and 7.



though they choose to have the sole management of it them-
Desire of carry- sclves, either in the hands of a few, or of one only.
ing out ti.e They will also raise commotions concerning the

constitution to •' . i i- i i /• •

the furtiicii ucgiee ot powcr to be established ; as, tor instance,
lengths. jj- ^j^^ government is an oligarchy, and in the same

maniKT if it is a democracy, to have it more purely so, or else
to have it less so : and, in like manner, in the case of the other
forms of government, changes arise either to extend or contract
., . ., . , their powers, or else to miik(' some alterations in

Spirit of change. * ' , i. , , !• i

some parts ot it ; as to establish or abolish a parti-
cular magistracy ; as some persons say Lysander endeavoured
to abolish the kingly power in Sparta, and kingrausanias, tliat
of the Kphors. Thus in Kpidamuus tliere was an alteration
in one part of the constitution, for instead of the Phylarchs'
they established a senate. It is also still necessary for all the
magistrates at Alliens to attend in the court of Ileliaia'^ when
any new magistrate is created : the power of the one Archon,'

also, in that state partook of the nature of an
(nh?r"Se^"' oligiirehy. IiKMpiality is always the occasion of

sedition, but among those who are not equal, an
unequal treatment is not unfair. Thus kingly power is un-
e(pial when it is exercised over ( quals. Upon tlie whole it is
this aiming after an ('(piality which is the cause of seditions.
Hut eciuality is two-fold, ibr it is either in number, or in
desert. K<[uality in number is when two things contain the
same parts or the same quantity; but eciuality in value is at-
tained by proportion, as three exceeds two and two exceedi

' Sco note on hook iv. chaj). 10.

'■» Fur suiiH' liniluT noiiio of the cimrts of the Heliiva at Athens, see note
on book iv. cluip. IG, iind compare Miillfr's Dorians, vol. ii. hook iii. cliiip.
5, and the various references there nivt n. 'I"he word i/Xuiui, aecordiiip'
lo Hesychiiis, is tlie same word with aXia, the usual name of a puhlic
assembly in the Uori(; states. This is the name by which the Spartan
assenddy is mentioned in Herodotus, vii. l.'U.

' " After the death of Codru.^, the nobles, taking advantage perhaps ol
the opportnnily alforded by the di>pnte between his sons, are said lo have
aboli.^hed the title of kiiij; (/-{afTtXtetO, and to have siibsiituted for it that
of arehon {lipx^oi'). This ehanne, however, seems to liavc been import-
ant, rather as it indicated the new and precarious tenure by which the
royal power was held, than as ii immediately allei'li-d the nature of the
olliee. It was .still held for lift; .... The arehon was deemt d a respon-
sible inaKislrale, which injplies that those who elected him had the power
of deposini,' him." (Thirhvall, History of Greece, vol. ii. chap. 11.)


one 1)}' tlie same niinibcr ; but by j>ropc)rtion ibnr cxrcods two
and two one in the saiiiL' dcj^rcc, tor two is tho pame pnrt of
lour as one is of two, that is to say, they are balvcs. Now
all ajjree as to wiiat is absolutely and sinijjly just; but, as
wc have already said, they dispute concerniuj? proportionate
value ; for some persons, if they are equal in one respect,
think themselves ecjual in all ; others, if they are superior in
one tiling, tliink tliey may ehiini the superiority in all.
Hence chiefly there arise two sorts of governments, demo-
cracy and olijrarchy ; for nobility and merit are to be found
oidy atnongst a tew ;^ but their contraries, amongst the many ;
as there is not one man of nobility and merit in a hundred,
but many without either are every where. But
to establish a government entirely upon either pie'of^quamV
of these equalities is wrong ; as is made clear by "^iny^f'.i'rcvaii
the example of those so established ; for none of
tliem have been stable. And the reason of this is, that it is
iinpossil)le that whatever is wrong at the first and in principle
sliould not at last come to a bad result ; and therefore in some
tilings an equality of numbers ought to take place, in others
an ('([uality in value. However, a democracy is safer and less
liable to sedition than an oligarchy ; for in this latter it may
arise from tv;o causes, the tew in power conspiring either
against each other, or against the people ; but in a democracy,
men conspire only against the few who aim at exclusive'
power ; but there is no instance worth speaking of where the
j)oople have raised a sedition against themselves. Moreover,
a government composed of men of moderate fortunes comes
much nearer to a democracy than to an oligarchy, and is the
safest of all such states.


But since we are inquiring into the causes of se-
ditions and revolutions in governments, we must Jf^JcdiUon*."
assume in general the first principles and causes
of them. Now these, so to speak, are much about three in
number ; these we must first distinguish in outline from each

• Compare the words of Juvrnal, (Sat. xiii.l. 26,) " Rari quippebonij"
and those of iEacus in the Uantc of Aristophanes, (1. 783,)
oXiyov TO xp'J<yr6v itrnv, Hfficfp iv9dh.


Other, and then endeavour to show in what situation people
are who begin a sedition, and for what causes ; and, thirdly,
who are the sources of political troubles and mutual quarrels.
. ., ■ . Now, the fact that they are thus or thus disposed

1. Under what ^* . .•' ^ i.ii-i

circumstRnceu towards a change in government, must m laid
dltious*""' down as one cause, and is one which we have al-
ready mentioned. For some raise seditions through
desire of equality, if they see those whom they esteem their
equals possessed of more tlian they have themselves ; others do
the s^ime by not being content with equality, but aiming at supe-
riority, if they think, that while they deserve more than their
inferiors, they have only an equal share with them, or less.
Now, they may pursue their aim either justly or unjustly;
justly indeed when those who are inferior raise sedition for
the sake of e(iuality ; unjustly, when those who are ecjual do

2. For what ®" ^'^^ Superiority. We have then mentioned the
reasuiis. situations in which men will be seditious ; but the

causes for which they will be so are profit and
honour, and their contraries ; for, to avoid dishonour or loss
of fortune by fines, either on their own account or that of
their friends, they are apt to raise commotions in the state.
The sources and causes of commotions which dispose men in
the way which we have mentioned, if we take them in one
manner, are seven in number, but in anotlier they are more.
Now two of these are the same with what have been already
mentioned, but they act in a different manner ; for on account
of profit and honour men rouse themselves against each other,
not to get the [)ussossion of them for themselves, (as was said
above,) but at seeing others, some justly, and others unjustly,
engrossing them. Tiie other causes are haughtiness, fear,
eminence, contempt, envy of those whose fortunes are beyond
their rank. There are also other things which in a different
manner occasion revolutions, as contention, neglect, want of
numbers, and too great disparity of circumstances.


The various It is almost self-evident what influence ill-treat-

Seduinneon. "^^"^ ^"*^ profit havo for this purpose, and how

Bidirtd. they are causes of sedition ; for when the magis- Ij

111 treatment, tratcs are haughty and grasping, they not only raise i^


-^editions nmongst each otlier, but ngainst the ^rom.
^tate al;*o wl»ich fjavc tlicm their power ; and this their ava-
rirc has two ohjects, either juivate property, or the property
of the state. AVliat influence belon<:s to lionours,

, , ,, . ,...., Honours.

and l>ow they may occasion sedition, is evident
enougli ; lor tliose wlio are themselves unhonoured wiiile they
?oe others honoured, will Ik? reatly Ibr any disturbance: and
these tliinj]js are done unjustly when any one is either liou-
oured or discarded contrary to his deserts, but justly when
according to them. Excessive honours are also a cause of
sedition, when one jK-rson or more are greater than accords
with the state and the power of the government ; for then a
monarchy or a dynasty are usually established. On this ac-
count the ostracism ' was introduced in some places, as at
Ariios and Athens: though it is better to guard against such
excess of honours in the founding of a state, than to correct
it afterwards when it has been permitted to take place.
Tliose who have been guilty of crimes will be the
cause of sedition through fear of punishment ; as "' ^'
will those also who expect an injury, that th<'y Antiripation

,.,,,, • • ' ii' ^ 1 of injury.

may prevent it beiorc it is inflicted ; as was the
ra-eat Hhodes,^ when the nobles conspired against the people,
on account of the decrees which they expected would be passed
:»i:ainst them. Contempt also is a cause of sedition
and conspiracies ; a.s in oligarchies, where there "" ^^^ '
are many who have no share in the administration ; for they
fancy that they are superior. The rich also, even in democra-
oil's, thinking lightly of the disorder and anarchy which will
:iri>(\ hope to better themselves by the same means ; as hap-
jx'ned at Thebes, after the battle of Oenophyta,^ where through
had administration the democracy was destroyed ; as it was
at Megara,* where the power of the people was lost through

' For a detailed account of the practice of ostracism at Alliens, ece
n"tcon book iii. chap. 13. At Syracuse a similar proceeding was styled

' See the other allusion to Rhodes, a few lines below. Compare also
brjow, (chap. 5,) the reference to the same slate, where mcnliuii is made
<jt a'i iTTKpipd^n'ai (iKai. All three passages refer to the same occasion in
Uio opmion of Miiller. But see Goettling's note.

* Comjiare Thucyd. i. 108.

* The allusions here made to the internal history of Megara, Syracuse,
Tircnium, and other Dorian slates, will be made clear by a reference to
Mailer's Dorians, vol. ii. chap. 9.

172 Aristotle's politics. [book v.

anarchy and disorder. Tlie same thing happened at Syracuse
before tlie tyranny of Gelo, and at Rhodes before tlie popuhir

government was overthrown. Kevoliitions in the
Tte Cease!" ^^^^^^ "^"^^ '^^^^^ ^^^'" *^ disproportionate increase ;

for as the body consists of many parts, it ought to
increase in due proportion, in order to i)reserve its symmetry,
which will otlurwise l)C destroyed ; as if the foot were to be
four cubits long, and tlie rest of the body but two ])alms ; it
might otherwise be changed into an animal of a dilferent form,
if it were to increase beyond proportion not only in (juantity,
but also in disposition of parts. So also a city consists of parts,
one of which nuiy often increase without notice, as the number
. ., of poor in <lemocracies and free states. They will

also sometimes happen by accident, as at Taren-
tum a little after the Persian wars, where so many of the
nobles were killed in a batth; by the lapyges, that from a free
state the goveriunent was turne<l into a democracy ; and at
Argos, where so many of the citizens were killed in Ilebdo-
ma' by Cleomenes the Spartan, that they were obliged to
admit several husbandmen'^ to the freedom of the state: and
at Athens, through the unfortunate event of the war by laud,
the number of the nobles was much reduced by being chosi.n
into the troops "'' in the war with Sparta. Kevolutions also
sometimes take place in a democracy, though more seldom ; for
where the poor increase faster than men of property, the stati-
r.ovcrniiieiits becouics au oligarchy or dynasty. (Jovernment?
tiianj,'ed with- also souietimcs alter without seilitions : bv petty

out SLilitions : ^ ^. ^ ti /• i • i * \\ '

contention, as at ller;ea: lor which purpose they
changed the mode of election from votes to lots, and thus got
the contentious parties chosen : and by negligence, as when
the citizens admit to state otHces men who are not friends tu
the constitution : an event which happened at Orus, when the

' tv T1J 'Ejicu^iy. 'I'ho ineaning uf ihtse words is not quite certain.
It is ck-ar thai [Im aiu-icnls were equally in the dark ; some of lliom
thinking that Aristotle ln-re rel'crs to ihuday itu whieii the light took placr;
others, again, that he alludes to the number slain, which according lu
iMutarch was 777. IVrhaps ihe simplest interpretation is to sui)po>f
lliat the grove, which Herodotus mentions (vi. 7^) as the sceiu; of the
encounter, may have been ialled Hebdoma, just as other places ^^crc
called Trite and Trita-a. This is Cioeitling's view of the subject ; Me
his note,

' Tivtc tCjv Trtp/ouwi'. Tlie ye/ii'i/nr, or lowest order, are here meant.

^ Compare Thucyd. vi. 31; viii. '21.


oliL'archy of the arclions wn.^ suppressed at tlie election of Ile-
riioleoilonis, wlio clian^ed tliat form of government into a
(Icinocratic frei^ state. Moreover they cliange by
little an.l little; and I mean by this that very «"^ *''''•'"»">• =
(ifton preat alterations silently take place in the form of a
'government, when peojile overlook small matters ; as at Am-
hraeia, where the census was originally small, but at last
hecanie nothing at all, as if a little and nothing at all were
nearly or entirely alike. A state also composed
..fdilferent nations is liable to seditions until their J'J^.p''"'''^' "'
(litVerences are blended together ; for as a city
cannot be composed of every multitude, so neither can it in
every given time. For this reason all those republics which
have hitherto been originally composed of different peoj)le, or
have afterwards admitted their neighbours to the freedom of
their city, have been most liable to revolutions ; as
when the Achaians joined with the men of Tra^zen JxamfS
in founding Sybaris ; for soon afterwards, the
former grew more powerful than the Tra'zenians, and expelled
tliem from the city ; (hence the vSybarites became under sen-
teiueof a curse ;) and again, disputes from a like cause happened
iit Thurium, between the Sybarites and those who had joined
\vith them in building the city ; for claiming all the country
;is their own, they were driven out in consetpience. And at
Uyzantium the new citizens, being detected in plots against
the state, were driven out of the city by force of arms. The
Antisseans also, having taken in those who were banished
from Chios, afterwards did the same thing; and also the Zan-
d<ans, after having taken in the people of Samos. The men
of Apollonia ' on the Euxine, having admitted their sojourners
to the freedom of their city, were troubled with seditions ; and
tho Syracusans, after the times of their tyrants, having en-
rolled strangers and mercenaries amongst their citizens,^ (piar-
n UimI with each other and came to an open rupture : and the
pf'opleof Amphipolis, having taken in a colony of Chalcidians,
wore the greater part of them driven out of the city by them.

' Apollonia was the only colony of the Corinthians that lay to the ca«i
'f fJrocro. Its inhabitants were ordered by the Athenians to throw down
'h'ir Walls shortly before the Peloponnesian war.

' Compare Herod, vii. 106.

174 Aristotle's politics. [book v.

Further Many persons occasion seditions in oligarchies,

causes. bccausc they think themselves ill used in not

Fancied inju»- gimring as equals in the honours of the statu wiUi

their equals, as we have already mentioned ; but
in demot^racies the principal people do the same because they
have only an equal share witli others who are not equal to

them. The situation of the place will also ttome-
tion*' "'"*" times occa.'iion dibturbauces in the state, when the

ground is not well adapted for one city ; as at
Clazomenas where the people who lived in that part of the
town called Chytrum quarrelled with those who lived in the
island, and the Colophoniaiis with the Notians.' At Athent}
too the disposition of the citizens is not the same ; for those
who live in the Pira^eus are more attached to a popular go-
vernment than those who live in the city. For as the inter-
position of a rivulet, however small, breaks the lines of the
phalanx, so any trifling disagreement becomes the cause of
seditions. Tlie greatest disagreement perhaps then lies be-
tween virtue and vice, and next to that between poverty and
ricljes, and so on in order, one dillerence being greater than
another ; and one of these is that which we have mentioned.


But seditions in governments do not arise concerning little
things, but from them ; for men quarrel concerning something:
Great effects ^^ moment. Now trilling (quarrels are attended
from trifliii;,' with the greatest consecpiences, when they ains^
quarriih. between persons of the first distinction in the

Historical ex- state, as was the case with the Syracusans at a

aniiiles. . i ,. i • • i

remote period : lor a revolution in the government
was brought about by a quarrel between two young men wir»
were in oHice, upon a love affair ; for one of them being ab-
sent, the other, who was a friend of his, seduced his mistress;
he in his turn took oflenee at this, and persuaded his friend's
wife to come and live with him ; and upon this they persuaded
the whole city to take part either with the one or the other.
and caused a compU'te rupture. Every one therefore at the
beginning of such disputes ought to take care to avoid the
consequences, and to smother up all quarrels which may arise
' C'oinparL' Thucyd. iii. 'M,

( HAP. IV. J rOI.ITirAL QUAnRF.LS. 17.5

:\nion;:st those in power; ior tlic inisclnof lies in tlio b(>gin-
niiij: ; lor tlie boginninpj is said to ha " lialf of tlio l)nsincss,"'
so that what wns then hut a little fault, will be Ibiind to bear
its i'nll i)ro])ortion to errors in the other parts. Moreover,
di-pute?* between men of note involve the whole city in tlieir
(•nnse(juenee.'H ; as in lIi.>*ti.Ta, after the Persian war, whore
two brothers had a dispute about their jmtcrnal estate ; he who
w;is the poor(T. because the other had concealed some effecli*
nnd som(^ money which his father had found, engaged the
popular party on his side, while the other, who was rich, the
men of fashion. And at Delphi,'^ a quarrel about a wedding
was the beginning of all the vseditions that afterwards arose
amongst them ; for a bridegroom there, being terrified by
some unlucky omen, waited upon the bride, but went away
without niarrying her ; in resentment for which her relations
put some sacred money into his pocket while he was sacri-
ticing, and then killed Inm as a sacrilegious person. At Mi-
tylone also a dispute which arose concerning heiresses, was
the benrinning of great evils, and of a war with the Athenians,
in which raches-* took tlieir city ; for a man of fortune named
Timophanes \ei\ two daughters, and Doxander, being out-
r,liied in procuring them in marriage for his two sons, began
a sedition, and excited the Athenians against them, as he was
a public guest of the city.* There was also a dispute at
Plioca^a concerning nn lieircss between Mnaseas the father of
Mneson, and P>uthycrates the father of Onomarchus ; and this
strife brought upon the Phoca^ans the sacred war. The go-

' Soo Z(>lli\is on Aristotle's Nicomach. Ethics, p. 39.

' Upon the constitution of Delphi, see Miillcr's Dorians, vol. ii. chap. 9,
?nh finrm.

' Sie Thucyd. iii. 2.

* TTpor^i'of. Hospitality in ancient Greece -was divided into Kn'la and
vncbvia, respectively correnponding to the hofpitium privatum and pvhii-
f^im of the Romans. This irpnlu'ia might exist either bet^\ een iv,o stales,
or hftween an individual or family on the one hand, and a state on the
fttlicr. Of the latter kind was the hospitium existing between the family
f^f the Pisistratida^ on the one hand, and the state of Sparta on the oilier.
(^Sop Arnold's note on Thucyd. ii. '29, and Giiller's note on Thncyd. iii.
"'••) I'pon the honours and privileges enjoyed by a proxenus at the hands
f'f the state with which he had formed that tie, the reader will do well to
f""nsult the very complete account contained in the Dictionary of Or. and
Hnm. Antiquities, Article Hospitium.

176 aristotlf/s tolitics. [book v.

vcrnment of Epidamnus * too was changed from a marriage
quarrel ; for a certain man having contracted his daugliter in
marriage, the lather of the young man to whom she was con-
tracted, being Archon, punished him ; whereupon, in resent
for the affront, he seditiously joined himself with those who
were excluded from any share in the government,
intowhatform ^^ government may be cluuigcd either into an
Kovirntnents oligarchy, a democracy, or a free state ; when the
may change. n^.^rristnites, orauyoiiepart of the city, ao(piire great
TheAreopagus. (.pt^jit^ qj. .^^ii increased in power ; as the court of
Areopagus 2 at Athens, whicli, having procured great credit
during the Persian war, added lirnmcss to the administration ;
Growth of the ii'^d, ou the othcr hand, tlie maritime force, coni-
j.opuhir power poscd of tlic commonulty, having gained the vic-
.it Atiaus. ^^^^^, ^^ Salamis,^ by their power at sea got the lead
in the state, and strengthened the popular party. And at Ar-
gos,* the nobli's, having gained great credit by lighting the
battle of Mantinea airainst the Lacediemonians, endeavoured to

' Upon the constitution an(i history of Epidamnns, see Tlnu.-yd. i. '21,
cto., and Miillor's Dorians, vol. ii.cliap.9, \vhtre the reader will also litui
information concerning the changes in the consliiutions of Argos and
Syrac\ise, mentioned below.

^ •• .Tiie venerahle eliaracter," says Thirlwall, "of the court of Areo-
pagus, seems to have determined Solon to apply it to another purpose ; and
. . . . to erect it into a supreme council, invested with a superintending and
controlling aiUhority, which extended over every part ol" the social sys-
tem." It was the main anchor of the slate against democrat ical in-
fluences. *' The nature of its functions rendered it scarcely possible pre-
cisely to define their limits; and Solon probably thought it best to let
them remain in that obscurity which maiinilies whatever is indistinct."
(vol. ii. di. 11.) On its consequent aristocratical character, it would be
needless to speak. The reader who desires further intormalion will do
well to consult the Dictionary of (ir. and Ilom. .\niiiiuities. I'pon the
rise of the Athenian ciov'/i ii^ tfi»- immediate ellect of the bravery shown by
that state in the Persian wars, and of the ])olii-y of Themistocles in
strengthening her maritime ]H>\ver, see Thirlwall's History of (ireece,
vol. ii. chap. IG. Compare Thucyd. book i. chaps. b'J— 97.

» B. r. 1^0.

* "After the Persian war, Argos, which had previously been under a
djTiasty of the Ileracleid family, became a democracy. Wiieu Argos
began to aspire to the leadership of (Jreece at'ter the ]>eacc of Nicias, it
appointed a council of twelve, with full power to treat with such (Jreck
stiites as would be willing to join them. It was natural however that
this oligarchic body should endanger the democracy, wliich they over-

Cll.vr. IV.] RISK OF Sr.DlTIONS. 177

(li-solvc the doinocracy. And at Syracuso, as the vi(jtory in
their war with tlie Athenians was owin^ to the common people,
tliey ehan;re«l their iVee stale into a (h-nioeracy ; and at Chal-
eis. the people havini; (h*stroyed the tyrant Piioxns tojicther
witii tlie noi»le3,' inunediately seized the [rovernnient ; and at
Anibr.ieia also, the people, liavin;j: expelled the tyrant Peri-
anth'r with his party, broutrht round the supreme power to
themselves. And this in {general ought not to be forgotten,
that whosoever has been the real oecasion of a state being
powerful, whether private persons, or magistrates, a tribe, or
anv part of the citizens, or the nniltitude, be they who they
will, they become a cause of disputes in the state. For either

Online LibraryAristotleThe Politics and Economics of Aristotle : translated, with notes, original and selected, and analyses, to which are prefixed an introductory essay and a life of Aristotle by Dr. Gillies → online text (page 26 of 49)