Laws Book 11 - Plato

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BOOK XI

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 
another of having anything which belongs to him, whether little or 
much, and the other admits that he has this thing, but denies that the 
property in dispute belongs to other, if the property be registered 
with the magistrates according to law, the claimant shall summon the 
possessor, who shall bring it before the magistrates; and when it is 
brought into court, if it be registered in the public registers, to 
which of the litigants it belonged, let him take it and go his way. Or 
if the property be registered as belonging to some one who is not 
present, whoever will offer sufficient surety on behalf of the 
absent person that he will give it up to him, shall take it away as 
the representative of the other. But if the property which is 
deposited be not registered with the magistrates, let it remain 
until the time of trial with three of the eldest of the magistrates; 
and if it be an animal which is deposited, then he who loses the 
suit shall pay the magistrates for its keep, and they shall 
determine the cause within three days. 
Any one who is of sound mind may arrest his own slave, and do with 
him whatever he will of such things as are lawful; and he may arrest 
the runaway slave of any of his friends or kindred with a view to 
his safe-keeping. And if any one takes away him who is being carried 
off as a slave, intending to liberate him, he who is carrying him 
off shall let him go; but he who takes him away shall give three 
sufficient sureties; and if he give them, and not without giving them, 
he may take him away, but if he take him away after any other manner 
he shall be deemed guilty of violence, and being convicted shall pay 
as a penalty double the amount of the damages claimed to him who has 
been deprived of the slave. Any man may also carry off a freedman, 
if he do not pay respect or sufficient respect to him who freed him. 
Now the respect shall be, that the freedman go three times in the 
month to the hearth of the person who freed him and offer to do 
whatever he ought, so far as he can; and he shall agree to make such a 
marriage as his former master approves. He shall not be permitted to 
have more property than he who gave him liberty, and what more he 
has shall belong to his master. The freedman shall not remain in the 
state more than twenty years, but like other foreigners shall go away, 
taking his entire property with him, unless he has the consent of 
the magistrates and of his former master to remain. If a freedman or 
any other stranger has a property greater than the census of the third 
class, at the expiration. of thirty days from the day on which this 
comes to pass, he shall take that which is his and go his way, and 
in this case he shall not be allowed to remain any longer by the 
magistrates. And if any one disobeys this regulation, and is brought 
into court and convicted, he shall be punished with death, his 
property shall be confiscated. Suits about these matters shall take 
place before the tribes, unless the plaintiff and defendant have got 
rid of the accusation either before their neighbours or before 
judges chosen by them. If a man lay claim to any animal or anything 
else which he declares to be his, let the possessor refer to the 
seller or to some honest and trustworthy person, who has given, or 
in some legitimate way made over the property to him; if he be a 
citizen or a metic, sojourning in the city, within thirty days, or, if 
the property have been delivered to him by a stranger, within five 
months, of which the middle month shall include the summer solstice. 
When goods are exchanged by selling and buying, a man shall deliver 
them, and receive the price of them, at a fixed place in the agora, 
and have done with the matter; but he shall not buy or sell anywhere 
else, nor give credit. And if in any other manner or in any other 
place there be an exchange of one thing for another, and the seller 
give credit to the man who buys fram him, he must do this on the 
understanding that the law gives no protection in cases of things sold 
not in accordance with these regulations. Again, as to 
contributions, any man who likes may go about collecting contributions 
as a friend among friends, but if any difference arises about the 
collection, he is to act on the understanding that the law gives no 
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 
being less than thirty years of age, may with impunity chastise and 
beat the swearer, but if instead of obeying the laws he takes no heed, 
he shall be liable to the charge of having betrayed them. If a man 
sells any adulterated goods and will not obey these regulations, he 
who knows and can prove the fact, and does prove it in the presence of 
the magistrates, if he be a slave or a metic, shall have the 
adulterated goods; but if he be a citizen, and do not pursue the 
charge, he shall be called a rogue, and deemed to have robbed the Gods 
of the agora; or if he proves the charge, he shall dedicate the 
goods to the Gods of the agora. He who is proved to have sold any 
adulterated goods, in addition to losing the goods themselves, shall 
be beaten with stripes-a stripe for a drachma, according to the 
price of the goods; and the herald shall proclaim in the agora the 
offence for which he is going to be beaten. The warden of the agora 
and the guardians of the law shall obtain information from experienced 
persons about the rogueries and adulterations of the sellers, and 
shall write up what the seller ought and ought not to do in each case; 
and let them inscribe their laws on a column in front of the court 
of the wardens of the agora, that they may be clear instructors of 
those who have business in the agora. Enough has been said in what has 
preceded about the wardens of the city, and if anything seems to be 
wanting, let them communicate with the guardians of the law, and write 
down the omission, and place on a column in the court of the wardens 
of the city the primary and secondary regulations which are laid 
down for them about their office. 
After the practices of adulteration naturally follow the practices 
of retail trade. Concerning these, we will first of all give a word of 
counsel and reason, and the law shall come afterwards. Retail trade in 
a city is not by nature intended to do any harm, but quite the 
contrary; for is not he a benefactor who reduces the inequalities 
and incommensurabilities of goods to equality and common measure? 
And this is what the power of money accomplishes, and the merchant may 
be said to be appointed for this purpose. The hireling and the 
tavern-keeper, and many other occupations, some of them more and 
others less seemly-alike have this object;-they seek to satisfy our 
needs and equalize our possessions. Let us then endeavour to see 
what has brought retail trade into ill-odour, and wherein, lies the 
dishonour and unseemliness of it, in order that if not entirely, we 
may yet partially, cure the evil by legislation. To effect this is 
no easy matter, and requires a great deal of virtue. 
Cleinias. What do you mean? 
Athenian Stranger. Dear Cleinias, the class of men is small-they 
must have been rarely gifted by nature, and trained by 
education-who, when assailed by wants and desires, are able to hold 
out and observe moderation, and when they might make a great deal of 
money are sober in their wishes, and prefer a moderate to a large 
gain. But the mass of mankind are the very opposite: their desires are 
unbounded, and when they might gain in moderation they prefer gains 
without limit; wherefore all that relates to retail trade, and 
merchandise, and the keeping of taverns, is denounced and numbered 
among dishonourable things. For if what I trust may never be and 
will not be, we were to compel, if I may venture to say a ridiculous 
thing, the best men everywhere to keep taverns for a time, or carry on 
retail trade, or do anything of that sort; or if, in consequence of 
some fate or necessity, the best women were compelled to follow 
similar callings, then we should know how agreeable and pleasant all 
these things are; and if all such occupations were managed on 
incorrupt principles, they would be honoured as we honour a mother 
or a nurse. But now that a man goes to desert places and builds bouses 
which can only be reached be long journeys, for the sake of retail 
trade, and receives strangers who are in need at the welcome 
resting-place, and gives them peace and calm when they are tossed by 
the storm, or cool shade in the heat; and then instead of behaving 
to them as friends, and showing the duties of hospitality to his 
guests, treats them as enemies and captives who are at his mercy, 
and will not release them until they have paid the most unjust, 
abominable, and extortionate ransom-these are the sort of practices, 
and foul evils they are, which cast a reproach upon the succour of 
adversity. And the legislator ought always to be devising a remedy for 
evils of this nature. There is an ancient saying, which is also a true 
one-"To fight against two opponents is a difficult thing," as is 
seen in diseases and in many other cases. And in this case also the 
war is against two enemies-wealth and poverty; one of whom corrupts 
the soul of man with luxury, while the other drives him by pain into 
utter shamelessness. What remedy can a city of sense find against this 
disease? In the first place, they must have as few retail traders as 
possible; and in the second place, they must assign the occupation 
to that class of men whose corruption will be the least injury to 
the state; and in the third place, they must devise some way whereby 
the followers of these occupations themselves will not readily fall 
into habits of unbridled shamelessness and meanness. 
After this preface let our law run as follows, and may fortune 
favour us:-No landowner among the Magnetes, whose city the God is 
restoring and resettling-no one, that is, of the 5040 families, 
shall become a retail trader either voluntarily or involuntarily; 
neither shall he be a merchant, or do any service for private 
persons unless they equally serve him, except for his father or his 
mother, and their fathers and mothers; and in general for his elders 
who are freemen, and whom he serves as a freeman. Now it is 
difficult to determine accurately the things which are worthy or 
unworthy of a freeman, but let those who have obtained the prize of 
virtue give judgment about them in accordance with their feelings of 
right and wrong. He who in any way shares in the illiberality of 
retail trades may be indicted for dishonouring his race by any one who 
likes, before those who have been judged to be the first in virtue; 
and if he appear to throw dirt upon his father's house by an 
unworthy occupation, let him be imprisoned for a year and abstain from 
that sort of thing; and if he repeat the offence, for two years; and 
every time that he is convicted let the length of his imprisonment 
be doubled. This shall be the second law:-He who engages in retail 
trade must be either a metic or a stranger. And a third law shall 
be:-In order that the retail trader who dwells in our city may be as 
good or as little bad as possible, the guardians of the law shall 
remember that they are not only guardians of those who may be easily 
watched and prevented from becoming lawless or bad, because they are 
wellborn and bred; but still more should they have a watch over 
those who are of another sort, and follow pursuits which have a very 
strong tendency to make men bad. And, therefore, in respect of the 
multifarious occupations of retail trade, that is to say, in respect 
of such of them as are allowed to remain, because they seem to be 
quite necessary in a state-about these the guardians of the law should 
meet and take counsel with those who have experience of the several 
kinds of retail trade, as we before commanded, concerning adulteration 
(which is a matter akin to this), and when they meet they shall 
consider what amount of receipts, after deducting expenses, will 
produce a moderate gain to the retail trades, and they shall fix in 
writing and strictly maintain what they find to be the right 
percentage of profit; this shall be seen to by the wardens of the 
agora, and by the wardens of the city, and by the wardens of the 
country. And so retail trade will benefit every one, and do the 
least possible injury to those in the state who practise it. 
When a man makes an agreement which he does not fulfil, unless the 
agreement be of a nature which the law or a vote of the assembly 
does not allow, or which he has made under the influence of some 
unjust compulsion, or which he is prevented from fulfilling against 
his will by some unexpected chance, the other party may go to law with 
him in the courts of the tribes, for not having completed his 
agreement, if the parties are not able previously to come to terms 
before arbiters or before their neighbours. The class of craftsmen who 
have furnished human life with the arts is dedicated to Hephaestus and 
Athene; and there is a class of craftsmen who preserve the works of 
all craftsmen by arts of defence, the votaries of Ares and Athene, 
to which divinities they too are rightly dedicated. All these continue 
through life serving the country and the people; some of them are 
leaders in battle; others make for hire implements and works, and they 
ought not to deceive in such matters, out of respect to the Gods who 
are their ancestors. If any craftsman through indolence omit to 
execute his work in a given time, not reverencing the God who gives 
him the means of life, but considering, foolish fellow, that he is his 
own God and will let him off easily, in the first place, he shall 
suffer at the hands of the God, and in the second place, the law shall 
follow in a similar spirit. He shall owe to him who contracted with 
him the price of the works which he has failed in performing, and he 
shall begin again and execute them gratis in the given time. When a 
man undertakes a work, the law gives him the same advice which was 
given to the seller, that he should not attempt to raise the price, 
but simply ask the value; this the law enjoins also on the contractor; 
for the craftsman assuredly knows the value of his work. Wherefore, in 
free states the man of art ought not to attempt to impose upon private 
individuals by the help of his art, which is by nature a true thing; 
and he who is wronged in a matter of this sort, shall have a right 
of action against the party who has wronged him. And if any one lets 
out work to a craftsman, and does not pay him duly according to the 
lawful agreement, disregarding Zeus the guardian of the city and 
Athene, who are the partners of the state, and overthrows the 
foundations of society for the sake of a little gain, in his case 
let the law and the Gods maintain the common bonds of the state. And 
let him who, having already received the work in exchange, does not 
pay the price in the time agreed, pay double the price; and if a 
year has elapsed, although interest is not to be taken on loans, yet 
for every drachma which he owes to the contractor let him pay a 
monthly interest of an obol. Suits about these matters are to be 
decided by the courts of the tribes; and by the way, since we have 
mentioned craftsmen at all, we must not forget the other craft of war, 
in which generals and tacticians are the craftsmen, who undertake 
voluntarily the work of our safety, as other craftsmen undertake other 
public works;-if they execute their work well the law will never 
tire of praising him who gives them those honours which are the just 
rewards of the soldier; but if any one, having already received the 
benefit of any noble service in war, does not make the due return of 
honour, the law will blame him. Let this then be the law, having an 
ingredient of praise, not compelling but advising the great body of 
the citizens to honour the brave men who are the saviours of the whole 
state, whether by their courage or by their military skill;-they 
should honour them, I say, in the second place; for the first and 
highest tribute of respect is to be given to those who are able 
above other men to honour the words of good legislators. 
The greater part of the dealings between man and man have been now 
regulated by us with the exception of those that relate to orphans and 
the supervision of orphans by their guardians. These follow next in 
order, and must be regulated in some way. But to arrive at them we 
must begin with the testamentary wishes of the dying and the case of 
those who may have happened to die intestate. When I said, Cleinias, 
that we must regulate them, I had in my mind the difficulty and 
perplexity in which all such matters are involved. You cannot leave 
them unregulated, for individuals would make regulations at variance 
with one another, and repugnant to the laws and habits of the living 
and to their own previous habits, if a person were simply allowed to 
make any will which he pleased, and this were to take effect in 
whatever state he may have been at the end of his life; for most of us 
lose our senses in a manner, and feel crushed when we think that we 
are about to die. 
Cle. What do you mean, Stranger? 
Ath. O Cleinias, a man when he is about to die is an intractable 
creature, and is apt to use language which causes a great deal of 
anxiety and trouble to the legislator. 
Cle. In what way? 
Ath. He wants to have the entire control of all his property, and 
will use angry words. 
Cle. Such as what? 
Ath. O ye Gods, he will say, how monstrous that I am not allowed 
to give, or not to give my own to whom I will-less to him who has been 
bad to me, and more to him who has been good to me, and whose 
badness and goodness have been tested by me in time of sickness or 
in old age and in every other sort of fortune! 
Cle. Well Stranger, and may he not very fairly say so? 
Ath. In my opinion, Cleinias, the ancient legislators were too 
good-natured, and made laws without sufficient observation or 
consideration of human things. 
Cle. What do you mean? 
Ath. I mean, my friend that they were afraid of the testator's 
reproaches, and so they passed a law to the effect that a man should 
be allowed to dispose of his property in all respects as he liked; but 
you and I, if I am not mistaken, will have something better to say 
to our departing citizens. 
Cle. What? 
Ath. O my friends, we will say to them, hard is it for you, who 
are creatures of a day, to know what is yours-hard too, as the Delphic 
oracle says, to know yourselves at this hour. Now I, as the 
legislator, regard you and your possessions, not as belonging to 
yourselves, but as belonging to your whole family, both past and 
future, and yet more do regard both family and possessions as 
belonging to the state; wherefore, if some one steals upon you with 
flattery, when you are tossed on the sea of disease or old age, and 
persuades you to dispose of your property in a way that is not for the 
best, I will not, if I can help, allow this; but I will legislate with 
a view to the whole, considering what is best both for the state and 
for the family, esteeming as I ought the feelings of an individual 
at a lower rate; and I hope that you will depart in peace and kindness 
towards us, as you are going the way of all mankind; and we will 
impartially take care of all your concerns, not neglecting any of 
them, if we can possibly help. Let this be our prelude and consolation 
to the living and dying, Cleinias, and let the law be as follows: 
He who makes a disposition in a testament, if he be the father of 
a family, shall first of all inscribe as his heir any one of his 
sons whom he may think fit; and if he gives any of his children to 
be adopted by another citizen, let the adoption be inscribed. And if 
he has a son remaining over and above who has not been adopted upon 
any lot, and who may be expected to be sent out to a colony 
according to law, to him his father may give as much as he pleases 
of the rest of his property, with the exception of the paternal lot 
and the fixtures on the lot. And if there are other sons, let him 
distribute among them what there is more than the lot in such portions 
as he pleases. And if one of the sons has already a house of his 
own, he shall not give him of the money, nor shall he give money to 
a daughter who has been betrothed, but if she is not betrothed he 
may give her money. And if any of the sons or daughters shall be found 
to have another lot of land in the country, which has accrued after 
the testament has been made, they shall leave the lot which they 
have inherited to the heir of the man who has made the will. If the 
testator has no sons, but only daughters, let him choose the husband 
of any one of his daughters whom he pleases, and leave and inscribe 
him as his son and heir. And if a man have lost his son, when he was a 
child, and before he could be reckoned among grown-up men, whether his 
own or an adopted son, let the testator make mention of the 
circumstance and inscribe whom he will to be his second son in hope of 
better fortune. If the testator has no children at all, he may 
select and give to any one whom he pleases the tenth part of the 
property which he has acquired; but let him not be blamed if he 
gives all the rest to his adopted son, and makes a friend of him 
according to the law. If the sons of a man require guardians, and: the 
father when he dies leaves a will appointing guardians, those have 
been named by him, whoever they are and whatever their number be, if 
they are able and willing to take charge of the children, shall be 
recognized according to the provisions of the will. But if he dies and 
has made no will, or a will in which he has appointed no guardians, 
then the next of kin, two on the father's and two on the mother's 
side, and one of the friends of the deceased, shall have the authority 
of guardians, whom the guardians of the law shall appoint when the 
orphans require guardians. And the fifteen eldest guardians of the law 
shall have the whole care and charge of the orphans, divided into 
threes according to seniority-a body of three for one year, and then 
another body of three for the next year, until the cycle of the five 
periods is complete; and this, as far as possible, is to continue 
always. If a man dies, having made no will at all, and leaves sons who 
require the care of guardians, they shall share in the protection 
which is afforded by these laws. 
And if a man dying by some unexpected fate leaves daughters behind 
him, let him pardon the legislator if he gives them in marriage, he 
have a regard only to two out of three conditions-nearness of kin 
and the preservation of the lot, and omits the third condition, 
which a father would naturally consider, for he would choose out of 
all the citizens a son for himself, and a husband for his daughter, 
with a view to his character and disposition-the father, say, shall 
forgive the legislator if he disregards this, which to him is an 
impossible consideration. Let the law about these matters where 
practicable be as follows:-If a man dies without making a will, and 
leaves behind him daughters, let his brother, being the son of the 
same father or of the same mother, having no lot, marry the daughter 
and have the lot of the dead man. And if he have no brother, but 
only a brother's son, in like manner let them marry, if they be of a 
suitable age; and if there be not even a brother's son, but only the 
son of a sister, let them do likewise, and so in the fourth degree, if 
there be only the testator's father's brother, or in the fifth degree, 
his father's brother's son, or in the sixth degree, the child of his 
father's sister. Let kindred be always reckoned in this way: if a 
person leaves daughters the relationship shall proceed upwards through 
brothers and sisters, and brothers' and sisters' children, and first 
the males shall come, and after them the females in the same family. 
The judge shall consider and determine the suitableness or 
unsuitableness of age in marriage; he shall make an inspection of 
the males naked, and of the women naked down to the navel. And if 
there be a lack of kinsmen in a family extending to grandchildren of a 
brother, or to the grandchildren of a grandfather's children, the 
maiden may choose with the consent of her guardians any one of the 
citizens who is willing and whom she wills, and he shall be the heir 
of the dead man, and the husband of his daughter. Circumstances 
vary, and there may sometimes be a still greater lack of relations 
within the limits of the state; and if any maiden has no kindred 
living in the city, and there is some one who has been sent out to a 
colony, and she is disposed to make him the heir of her father's 
possessions, if he be indeed of her kindred, let him proceed to take 
the lot according to the regulation of the law; but if he be not of 
her kindred, she having no kinsmen within the city, and he be chosen 
by the daughter of the dead man, and empowered to marry by the 
guardians, let him return home and take the lot of him who died 
intestate. And if a man has no children, either male or female, and 
dies without making a will, let the previous law in general hold; 
and let a man and a woman go forth from the family and share the 
deserted house, and let the lot belong absolutely to them; and let the 
heiress in the first degree be a sister, and in a second degree a 
daughter of a brother, and in the third, a daughter of a sister, in 
the fourth degree the sister of a father, and in the fifth degree 
the daughter of a father's brother, and in a sixth degree of a 
father's sister; and these shall dwell with their male kinsmen, 
according to the degree of relationship and right, as we enacted 
before. Now we must not conceal from ourselves that such laws are 
apt to be oppressive and that there may sometimes be a hardship in the 
lawgiver commanding the kinsman of the dead man to marry his relation; 
be may be thought not to have considered the innumerable hindrances 
which may arise among men in the execution of such ordinances; for 
there may be cases in which the parties refuse to obey, and are 
ready to do anything rather than marry, when there is some bodily or 
mental malady or defect among those who are bidden to marry or be 
married. Persons may fancy that the legislator never thought of 
this, but they are mistaken; wherefore let us make a common prelude on 
behalf of the lawgiver and of his subjects, the law begging the latter 
to forgive the legislator, in that he, having to take care of the 
common weal, cannot order at the same time the various circumstances 
of individuals, and begging him to pardon them if naturally they are 
sometimes unable to fulfil the act which he in his ignorance imposes 
upon them. 
Cle. And how, Stranger, can we act most fairly under the 
circumstances? 
Ath. There must be arbiters chosen to deal with such laws and the 
subjects of them. 
Cle. What do you mean? 
Ath. I mean to say, that a case may occur in which the nephew, 
having a rich father, will be unwilling to marry the daughter of his 
uncle; he will have a feeling of pride, and he will wish to look 
higher. And there are cases in which the legislator will be imposing 
upon him the greatest calamity, and he will be compelled to disobey 
the law, if he is required, for example, to take a wife who is mad, or 
has some other terrible malady of soul or body, such as makes life 
intolerable to the sufferer. Then let what we are saying concerning 
these cases be embodied in a law:-If any one finds fault with the 
established laws respecting testaments, both as to other matters and 
especially in what relates to marriage, and asserts that the 
legislator, if he were alive and present, would not compel him to 
obey-that is to say, would not compel those who are by our law 
required to marry or be given in marriage, to do either-and some 
kinsman or guardian dispute this, the reply is that the legislator 
left fifteen of the guardians of the law to be arbiters and fathers of 
orphans, male or female, and to them let the disputants have recourse, 
and by their aid determine any matters of the kind, admitting their 
decision to be final. But if any one thinks that too great power is 
thus given to the guardians of the law, let him bring his 
adversaries into the court of the select judges, and there have the 
points in dispute determined. And he who loses the cause shall have 
censure and blame from the legislator, which, by a man of sense, is 
felt to be a penalty far heavier than a great loss of money. 
Thus will orphan children have a second birth. After their first 
birth we spoke of their nurture and education, and after their 
second birth, when they have lost their parents, we ought to take 
measures that the misfortune of orphanhood may be as little sad to 
them as possible. In the first place, we say that the guardians of the 
law are lawgivers and fathers to them, not inferior to their natural 
fathers. Moreover, they shall take charge of them year by year as of 
their own kindred; and we have given both to them and to the 
children's own guardians a suitable admonition concerning the 
nurture of orphans. And we seem to have spoken opportunely in our 
former discourse, when we said that the souls of the dead have the 
power after death of taking an interest in human affairs, about 
which there are many tales and traditions, long indeed, but true; 
and seeing that they are so many and so ancient, we must believe them, 
and we must also believe the lawgivers, who tell us that these 
things are true, if they are not to be regarded as utter fools. But if 
these things are really so, in the first place men should have a 
fear of the Gods above, who regard the loneliness of the orphans; 
and in the second place of the souls of the departed, who by nature 
incline to take an especial care of their own children, and are 
friendly to those who honour, and unfriendly to those who dishonour 
them. Men should also fear the souls of the living who are aged and 
high in honour; wherever a city is well ordered and prosperous, 
their descendants cherish them, and so live happily; old persons are 
quick to see and hear all that relates to them, and are propitious 
to those who are just in the fulfilment of such duties, and they 
punish those who wrong the orphan and the desolate, considering that 
they are the greatest and most sacred of trusts. To all which 
matters the guardian and magistrate ought to apply his mind, if he has 
any, and take heed of the nurture and education of the orphans, 
seeking in every possible way to do them good, for he is making a 
contribution to his own good and that of his children. He who obeys 
the tale which precedes the law, and does no wrong to an orphan, 
will never experience the wrath of the legislator. But he who is 
disobedient, and wrongs any one who is bereft of father or mother, 
shall pay twice the penalty which he would have paid if he had wronged 
one whose parents had been alive. As touching other legislation 
concerning guardians in their relation to orphans, or concerning 
magistrates and their superintendence of the guardians, if they did 
not possess examples of the manner in which children of freemen should 
be brought up in the bringing up of their own children, and of the 
care of their property in the care of their own, or if they had not 
just laws fairly stated about these very things-there would have 
been reason in making laws for them, under the idea that they were a 
peculiar-class, and we might distinguish and make separate rules for 
the life of those who are orphans and of those who are not orphans. 
But as the case stands, the condition of orphans with us not different 
from the case of those who have father, though in regard to honour and 
dishonour, and the attention given to them, the two are not usually 
placed upon a level. Wherefore, touching the legislation about 
orphans, the law speaks in serious accents, both of persuasion and 
threatening, and such a threat as the following will be by no means 
out of place:-He who is the guardian of an orphan of either sex, and 
he among the guardians of the law to whom the superintendence of 
this guardian has been assigned, shall love the unfortunate orphan 
as though he were his own child, and he shall be as careful and 
diligent in the management of his possessions as he would be if they 
were his own, or even more careful and dilligent. Let every one who 
has the care of an orphan observe this law. But any one who acts 
contrary to the law on these matters, if he be a guardian of the 
child, may be fined by a magistrate, or, if he be himself a 
magistrate, the guardian may bring him before the court of select 
judges, and punish him, if convicted, by exacting a fine of double the 
amount of that inflicted by the court. And if a guardian appears to 
the relations of the orphan, or to any other citizen, to act 
negligently or dishonestly, let them bring him before the same 
court, and whatever damages are given against him, let him pay 
fourfold, and let half belong to the orphan and half to him who 
procured the conviction. If any orphan arrives at years of discretion, 
and thinks that he has been ill-used by his guardians, let him 
within five years of the expiration of the guardianship be allowed 
to bring them to trial; and if any of them be convicted, the court 
shall determine what he shall pay or suffer. And if magistrate shall 
appear to have wronged the orphan by neglect, and he be convicted, let 
the court determine what he shall suffer or pay to the orphan, and 
if there be dishonesty in addition to neglect, besides paying the 
fine, let him be deposed from his office of guardian of the law, and 
let the state appoint another guardian of the law for the city and for 
the country in his room. 
Greater differences than there ought to be sometimes arise between 
fathers and sons, on the part either of fathers who will be of opinion 
that the legislator should enact that they may, if they wish, lawfully 
renounce their son by the proclamation of a herald in the face of 
the world, or of sons who think that they should be allowed to 
indict their fathers on the charge of imbecility when they are 
disabled by disease or old age. These things only happen, as a 
matter of fact, where the natures of men are utterly bad; for where 
only half is bad, as, for example, if the father be not bad, but the 
son be bad, or conversely, no great calamity is the result of such 
an amount of hatred as this. In another state, a son disowned by his 
father would not of necessity cease to be a citizen, but in our state, 
of which these are to be the laws, the disinherited must necessarily 
emigrate into another country, for no addition can be made even of a 
single family to the 5040 households; and, therefore, he who 
deserves to suffer these things must be renounced not only by his 
father, who is a single person, but by the whole family, and what is 
done in these cases must be regulated by some such law as the 
following:-He who in the sad disorder of his soul has a mind, justly 
or unjustly, to expel from his family a son whom he has begotten and 
brought up, shall not lightly or at once execute his purpose; but 
first of all he shall collect together his own kinsmen extending to 
cousins, and in like manner his son's kinsmen by the mother's side, 
and in their presence he shall accuse his son, setting forth that he 
deserves at the hands of them all to be dismissed from the family; and 
the son shall be allowed to address them in a similar manner, and show 
that he does not deserve to suffer any of these things. And if the 
father persuades them, and obtains the suffrages of more than half 
of his kindred, exclusive of the father and mother and the offender 
himself-I say, if he obtains more than half the suffrages of all the 
other grown-up members of the family, of both sexes, the father 
shall be permitted to put away his son, but not otherwise. And if 
any other citizen is willing to adopt the son who is put away, no 
law shall hinder him; for the characters of young men are subject to 
many changes in the course of their lives. And if he has been put 
away, and in a period of ten years no one is willing to adopt him, let 
those who have the care of the superabundant population which is 
sent out into colonies, see to him, in order that he may be suitably 
provided for in the colony. And if disease or age or harshness of 
temper, or all these together, makes a man to be more out of his 
mind than the rest of the world are-but this is not observable, except 
to those who live with him-and he, being master of his property, is 
the ruin of the house, and his son doubts and hesitates about 
indicting his father for insanity, let the law in that case or, that 
he shall first of all go to the eldest guardians of the law and tell 
them of his father's misfortune, and they shall duly look into the 
matter, and take counsel as to whether he shall indict him or not. And 
if they advise him to proceed, they shall be both his witnesses and 
his advocates; and if the father is cast, he shall henceforth be 
incapable of ordering the least particular of his life; let him be 
as a child dwelling in the house for the remainder of his days. And if 
a man and his wife have an unfortunate incompatibility of temper, 
ten of the guardians of the law, who are impartial, and ten of the 
women who regulate marriages, shall look to the matter, and if they 
are able to reconcile them they shall be formally reconciled; but if 
their souls are too much tossed with passion, they shall endeavour 
to find other partners. Now they are not likely to have very gentle 
tempers; and, therefore, we must endeavour to associate with them 
deeper and softer natures. Those who have no children, or only a 
few, at the time of their separation, should choose their new partners 
with a view to the procreation of children; but those who have a 
sufficient number of children should separate and marry again in order 
that they may have some one to grow old with and that the pair may 
take care of one another in age. If a woman dies, leaving children, 
male or female, the law will advise rather than compel the husband 
to bring up the children without introducing into the house a 
stepmother. But if he have no children, then he shall be compelled 
to marry until he has begotten a sufficient number of sons to his 
family and to the state. And if a man dies leaving a sufficient number 
of children, the mother of his children shall remain with them and 
bring, them up. But if she appears to be too young to live 
virtuously without a husband, let her relations communicate with the 
women who superintend marriage, and let both together do what they 
think best in these matters; if there is a lack of children, let the 
choice be made with a view to having them; two children, one of either 
sex, shall be deemed sufficient in the eye of the law. When a child is 
admitted to be the offspring of certain parents and is acknowledged by 
them, but there is need of a decision as to which parent the child 
is to follow-in case a female slave have intercourse with a male 
slave, or with a freeman or freedman, the offspring shall always 
belong to the master of the female slave. Again, if a free woman 
have intercourse with a male slave, the offspring shall belong to 
the master of the slave; but if a child be born either of a slave by 
her master, or of his mistress by a slave-and this be provence 
offspring of the woman and its father shall be sent away by the 
women who superintend marriage into another country, and the guardians 
of the law shall send away the offspring of the man and its mother. 
Neither God, nor a man who has understanding, will ever advise any 
one to neglect his parents. To a discourse concerning the honour and 
dishonour of parents, a prelude such as the following, about the 
service of the Gods, will be a suitable introduction:-There are 
ancient customs about the Gods which are universal, and they are of 
two kinds: some of the Gods we see with our eyes and we honour them, 
of others we honour the images, raising statues of them which we 
adore; and though they are lifeless, yet we imagine that the living 
Gods have a good will and gratitude to us on this account. Now, if a 
man has a father or mother, or their fathers or mothers treasured up 
in his house stricken in years, let him consider that no statue can be 
more potent to grant his requests than they are, who are sitting at 
his hearth if only he knows how to show true service to them. 
Cle. And what do you call the true mode of service? 
Ath. I will tell you, O my friend, for such things are worth 
listening to. 
Cle. Proceed. 
Ath. Oedipus, as tradition says, when dishonoured by his sons, 
invoked on them curses which every one declares to have been heard and 
ratified by the Gods, and Amyntor in his wrath invoked curses on his 
son Phoenix, and Theseus upon Hippolytus, and innumerable others 
have also called down wrath upon their children, whence it is clear 
that the Gods listen to the imprecations of parents; for the curses of 
parents are, as they ought to be, mighty against their children as 
no others are. And shall we suppose that the prayers of a father or 
mother who is specially dishonoured by his or her children, are 
heard by the Gods in accordance with nature; and that if a parent is 
honoured by them, and in the gladness of his heart earnestly 
entreats the Gods in his prayers to do them good, he is not equally 
heard, and that they do not minister to his request? If not, they 
would be very unjust ministers of good, and that we affirm to be 
contrary to their nature. 
Cle. Certainly. 
Ath. May we not think, as I was saying just now, that we can possess 
no image which is more honoured by the Gods, than that of a father 
or grandfather, or of a mother stricken in years? whom when a man 
honours, the heart of the God rejoices, and he is ready to answer 
their prayers. And, truly, the figure of an ancestor is a wonderful 
thing, far higher than that of a lifeless image. For the living, 
when they are honoured by us, join in our prayers, and when they are 
dishonoured, they utter imprecations against us; but lifeless 
objects do neither. And therefore, if a man makes a right use of his 
father and grandfather and other aged relations, he will have images 
which above all others will win him the favour of the Gods. 
Cle. Excellent. 
Ath. Every man of any understanding fears and respects the prayers 
of parents, knowing well that many times and to many persons they have 
been accomplished. Now these things being thus ordered by nature, good 
men think it a blessing from heaven if their parents live to old age 
and reach the utmost limit of human life, or if taken away before 
their time they are deeply regretted by them; but to bad men parents 
are always a cause of terror. Wherefore let every man honour with 
every sort of lawful honour his own parents, agreeably to what has now 
been said. But if this prelude be an unmeaning sound in the cars of 
any one, let the law follow, which may be rightly imposed in these 
terms:-If any one in this city be not sufficiently careful of his 
parents, and do not regard and gratify in every respect their wishes 
more than those of his sons and of his other offspring or of 
himself-let him who experiences this sort of treatment either come 
himself, or send some one to inform the three eldest guardians of 
the law, and three of the women who have the care of marriages; and 
let them look to the matter and punish youthful evil-doers with 
stripes and bonds if they are under thirty years of age, that is to 
say, if they be men, or if they be women, let them undergo the same 
punishment up to forty years of age. But if, when they are still 
more advanced in years, they continue the same neglect of their 
parents, and do any hurt to any of them, let them be brought before 
a court in which every single one of the eldest citizens shall be 
the judges, and if the offender be convicted, let the court 
determine what he ought to pay or suffer, and any penalty may be 
imposed on him which a man can pay or suffer. If the person who has 
been wronged be unable to inform the magistrates, let any freeman 
who hears of his case inform, and if he do not, he shall be deemed 
base, and shall be liable to have a suit for damage brought against 
him by any one who likes. And if a slave inform, he shall receive 
freedom; and if he be the slave of the injurer or injured party, he 
shall be set free by the magistrates, or if he belong to any other 
citizen, the public shall pay a price on his behalf to the owner; 
and let the magistrates take heed that no one wrongs him out of 
revenge, because he has given information. 
Cases in which one man injures another by poisons, and which prove 
fatal, have been already discussed; but about other cases in which a 
person intentionally and of malice harms another with meats, or 
drinks, or ointments, nothing has as yet been determined. For there 
are two kinds of poisons used among men, which cannot clearly be 
distinguished. There is the kind just now explicitly mentioned, 
which injures bodies by the use of other bodies according to a natural 
law; there is also another kind which persuades the more daring 
class that they can do injury by sorceries, and incantations, and 
magic knots, as they are termed, and makes others believe that they 
above all persons are injured by the powers of the magician. Now it is 
not easy to know the nature of all these things; nor if a man do 
know can he readily persuade others to believe him. And when men are 
disturbed in their minds at the sight of waxen images fixed either 
at their doors, or in a place where three ways meet, or on the 
sepulchres of parents, there is no use in trying to persuade them that 
they should despise all such things because they have no certain 
knowledge about them. But we must have a law in two parts, 
concerning poisoning, in whichever of the two ways the attempt is 
made, and we must entreat, and exhort, and advise men not to have 
recourse to such practices, by which they scare the multitude out of 
their wits, as if they were children, compelling the legislator and 
the judge to heal the fears which the sorcerer arouses, and to tell 
them in the first place, that he who attempts to poison or enchant 
others knows not what he is doing, either as regards the body 
(unless he has a knowledge of medicine), or as regards his 
enchantments (unless he happens to be a prophet or diviner). Let the 
law, then, run as follows about poisoning or witchcraft:-He who 
employs poison to do any injury, not fatal, to a man himself, or to 
his servants, or any injury, whether fatal or not, to his cattle or 
his bees, if he be a physician, and be convicted of poisoning, shall 
be punished with death; or if he be a private person, the court 
shall determine what he is to pay or suffer. But he who seems to be 
the sort of man injures others by magic knots, or enchantments, or 
incantations, or any of the like practices, if he be a prophet or 
diviner, let him die; and if, not being a prophet, he be convicted 
of witchcraft, as in the previous case, let the court fix what he 
ought to pay or suffer. 
When a man does another any injury by theft or violence, for the 
greater injury let him pay greater damages to the injured man, and 
less for the smaller injury; but in all cases, whatever the injury may 
have been, as much as will compensate the loss. And besides the 
compensation of the wrong, let a man pay a further penalty for the 
chastisement of his offence: he who has done the wrong instigated by 
the folly of another, through the lightheartedness of youth or the 
like, shall pay a lighter penalty; but he who has injured another 
through his own folly, when overcome by pleasure or pain, in 
cowardly fear, or lust, or envy, or implacable anger, shall endure a 
heavier punishment. Not that he is punished because he did wrong, 
for that which is done can never be undone, but in order that in 
future times, he, and those who see him corrected, may utterly hate 
injustice, or at any rate abate much of their evil-doing. Having an 
eye to all these things, the law, like a good archer, should aim at 
the right measure of punishment, and in all cases at the deserved 
punishment. In the attainment of this the judge shall be a 
fellow-worker with the legislator, whenever the law leaves to him to 
determine what the offender shall suffer or pay; and the legislator, 
like a painter, shall give a rough sketch of the cases in which the 
law is to be applied. This is what we must do, Megillus and 
Cleinias, in the best and fairest manner that we can, saying what 
the punishments are to be of all actions of theft and violence, and 
giving laws of such a kind as the Gods and sons of Gods would have 
us give. 
If a man is mad he shall not be at large in the city, but his 
relations shall keep him at home in any way which they can; or if not, 
let them pay a penalty-he who is of the highest class shall pay a 
penalty of one hundred drachmae, whether he be a slave or a freeman 
whom he neglects; and he of the second class shall pay four-fifths 
of a mina; and he of the third class three-fifths; and he of the 
fourth class two-fifths. Now there are many sorts of madness, some 
arising out of disease, which we have already mentioned; and there are 
other kinds, which originate in an evil and passionate temperament, 
and are increased by bad education; out of a slight quarrel this class 
of madmen will often raise a storm of abuse against one another, and 
nothing of that sort ought to be allowed to occur in a well-ordered 
state. Let this, then, be the law about abuse, which shall relate to 
all cases:-No one shall speak evil of another; and when a man disputes 
with another he shall teach and learn of the disputant and the 
company, but he shall abstain from evilspeaking; for out of the 
imprecations which men utter against one another, and the feminine 
habit of casting aspersions on one another, and using foul names, 
out of words light as air, in very deed the greatest enmities and 
hatreds spring up. For the speaker gratifies his anger, which is an 
ungracious element of his nature; and nursing up his wrath by the 
entertainment of evil thoughts, and exacerbating that part of his soul 
which was formerly civilized by education, he lives in a state of 
savageness and moroseness, and pays a bitter penalty for his anger. 
And in such cases almost all men take to saying something ridiculous 
about their opponent, and there is no man who is in the habit of 
laughing at another who does not miss virtue and earnestness 
altogether, or lose the better half of greatness. Wherefore let no one 
utter any taunting word at a temple, or at the public sacrifices, or 
at games, or in the agora, or in a court of justice, or in any 
public assembly. And let the magistrate who presides on these 
occasions chastise an offender, and he shall be blameless; but if he 
fails in doing so, he shall not claim the prize of virtue; for he is 
one who heeds not the laws, and does not do what the legislator 
commands. And if in any other place any one indulges in these sort 
of revilings, whether he has begun the quarrel or is only retaliating, 
let any elder who is present support the law, and control with blows 
those who indulge in passion, which is another great evil; and if he 
do not, let him be liable to pay the appointed penalty. And we say 
now, that he who deals in reproaches against others cannot reproach 
them without attempting to ridicule them; and this, when done in a 
moment of anger, is what we make matter of reproach against him. But 
then, do we admit into our state the comic writers who are so fond 
of making mankind ridiculous, if they attempt in a good-natured manner 
to turn the laugh against our citizens? or do we draw the 
distinction of jest and earnest, and allow a man to make use of 
ridicule in jest and without anger about any thing or person; though 
as we were saying, not if he be angry have a set purpose? We forbid 
earnest-that is unalterably fixed; but we have still to say who are to 
be sanctioned or not to be sanctioned by the law in the employment 
of innocent humour. A comic poet, or maker of iambic or satirical 
lyric verse, shall not be permitted to ridicule any of the citizens, 
either by word or likeness, either in anger or without anger. And if 
any one is disobedient, the judges shall either at once expel him from 
the country, or he shall pay a fine of three minae, which shall be 
dedicated to the God who presides over the contests. Those only who 
have received permission shall be allowed to write verses at one 
another, but they shall be without anger and in jest; in anger and 
in serious earnest they shall not be allowed. The decision of this 
matter shall be left to the superintendent of the general education of 
the young, and whatever he may license, the writer shall be allowed to 
produce, and whatever he rejects let not the poet himself exhibit, 
or ever teach anybody else, slave or freeman, under the penalty of 
being dishonoured, and held disobedient to the laws. 
Now he is not to be pitied who is hungry, or who suffers any 
bodily pain, but he who is temperate, or has some other virtue, or 
part of a virtue, and at the same time suffers from misfortune; it 
would be an extraordinary thing if such an one, whether slave or 
freeman, were utterly forsaken and fell into the extremes of poverty 
in any tolerably well-ordered city or government. Wherefore the 
legislator may safely make a law applicable to such cases in the 
following terms:-Let there be no beggars in our state; and if 
anybody begs, seeking to pick up a livelihood by unavailing prayers, 
let the wardens of the agora turn him out of the agora, and the 
wardens of the city out of the city, and the wardens of the country 
send him out of any other parts of the land across the border, in 
order that the land may be cleared of this sort of animal. 
If a slave of either sex injure anything, which is not his or her 
own, through inexperience, or some improper practice, and the person 
who suffers damage be not himself in part to blame, the master of 
the slave who has done the harm shall either make full satisfaction, 
or give up the the slave who has done has done the injury. But if 
master argue that the charge has arisen by collusion between the 
injured party and the injurer, with the view of obtaining the slave, 
let him sue the person, who says that he has been injured, for 
malpractices. And if he gain a conviction, let him receive double 
the value which the court fixes as the price of the slave; and if he 
lose his suit, let him make amends for the injury, and give up the 
slave. And if a beast of burden, or horse, or dog, or any other 
animal, injure the property of a neighbour, the owner shall in like 
manner pay for the injury. 
If any man refuses to be a witness, he who wants him shall summon 
him, and he who is summoned shall come to the trial; and if he knows 
and is willing to bear witness, let him bear witness, but if he says 
he does not know let him swear by the three divinities Zeus, and 
Apollo, and Themis, that he does not, and have no more to do with 
the cause. And he who is summoned to give witness and does not 
answer to his summoner, shall be liable for the harm which ensues 
according to law. And if a person calls up as a witness any one who is 
acting as a judge, let him give his witness, but he shall not 
afterwards vote in the cause. A free woman may give her witness and 
plead, if she be more than forty years of age, and may bring an action 
if she have no husband; but if her husband be alive she shall only 
be allowed to bear witness. A slave of either sex and a child shall be 
allowed to give evidence and to plead, but only in cases of murder; 
and they must produce sufficient sureties that they will certainly 
remain until the trial, in case they should be charged with false 
witness. And either of the parties in a cause may bring an 
accusation of perjury against witnesses, touching their evidence in 
whole or in part, if he asserts that such evidence has been given; but 
the accusation must be brought previous to the final decision of the 
cause. The magistrates shall preserve the accusations of false 
witness, and have them kept under the seal of both parties, and 
produce them on the day when the trial for false witness takes 
place. If a man be twice convicted of false witness, he shall not be 
required, and if thrice, he shall not be allowed to bear witness; 
and if he dare to witness after he has been convicted three times, let 
any one who pleases inform against him to the magistrates, and let the 
magistrates hand him over to the court, and if he be convicted he 
shall be punished with death. And in any case in which the evidence is 
rightly found to be false, and yet to have given the victory to him 
who wins the suit, and more than half the witnesses are condemned, the 
decision which was gained by these means shall be a discussion and a 
decision as to whether the suit was determined by that false 
evidence or and in whichever way the decision may be given, the 
previous suit shall be determined accordingly. 
There are many noble things in human life, but to most of them 
attach evils which are fated to corrupt and spoil them. Is not justice 
noble, which has been the civilizer of humanity? How then can the 
advocate of justice be other than noble? And yet upon this 
profession which is presented to us under the fair name of art has 
come an evil reputation. In the first place; we are told that by 
ingenious pleas and the help of an advocate the law enables a man to 
win a particular cause, whether just or unjust; and the power of 
speech which is thereby imparted, are at the service of him sho is 
willing to pay for them. Now in our state this so-called art, 
whether really an art or only an experience and practice destitute 
of any art, ought if possible never to come into existence, or if 
existing among us should litten to the request of the legislator and 
go away into another land, and not speak contrary to justice. If the 
offenders obey we say no more; but those who disobey, the voice of the 
law is as follows:-If anyone thinks that he will pervert the power 
of justice in the minds of the judges, and unseasonably litigate or 
advocate, let any one who likes indict him for malpractices of law and 
dishonest advocacy, and let him be judged in the court of select 
judges; and if he be convicted, let the court determine whether he may 
be supposed to act from a love of money or from contentiousness. And 
if he is supposed to act from contentiousness, the court shall fix a 
time during which he shall not be allowed to institute or plead a 
cause; and if he is supposed to act as be does from love of money, 
in case he be a stranger, he shall leave the country, and never return 
under penalty of death; but if he be a citizen, he shall die, 
because he is a lover of money, in whatever manner gained; and 
equally, if he be judged to have acted more than once from 
contentiousness, he shall die. 

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