Aristotle, Oeconomica

LCL 287: 326-327

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1343 aI. Ἡ οἰκονομικὴ καὶ πολιτικὴ διαφέρει οὐ μόνον τοσοῦτον ὅσον οἰκία καὶ πόλις (ταῦτα μὲν γὰρ αὐταῖς ἐστι τὰ ὑποκείμενα), ἀλλὰ καὶ ὅτι ἡ μὲν πολιτικὴ ἐκ πολλῶν ἀρχόντων ἐστίν, ἡ οἰκονομικὴ δὲ μοναρχία.

5Ἔνιαι μὲν οὖν τῶν τεχνῶν διῄρηνται, καὶ οὐ τῆς αὐτῆς ἐστι ποιῆσαι καὶ χρήσασθαι τῷ ποιηθέντι, ὥσπερ λύρᾳ καὶ αὐλοῖς· τῆς δὲ πολιτικῆς ἐστι καὶ πόλιν ἐξ ἀρχῆς συστήσασθαι καὶ ὑπαρχούσῃ χρήσασθαι καλῶς, ὥστε δῆλον ὅτι καὶ τῆς οἰκονομικῆς ἂν εἴη καὶ κτήσασθαι οἶκον καὶ χρήσασθαι αὐτῷ.

10Πόλις μὲν οὖν οἰκιῶν πλῆθός ἐστι καὶ χώρας καὶ2 κτημάτων αὔταρκες πρὸς τὸ εὖ ζῆν. φανερὸν δέ· ὅταν γὰρ μὴ δυνατοὶ ὦσι τούτου τυγχάνειν, διαλύεται καὶ ἡ κοινωνία. ἔτι δὲ ἕνεκα τούτου συνέρχονται·


Oeconomica, I. i

[Aristotle’s] The Oeconomica

Book I

I. Between Housecraft (the art of governing a Household or Home) and Statecraft (the art of governing a Nation) there are differences corresponding to those between the two kinds of community over which they severally preside. There is, however, this further difference: that whereas the government of a nation is in many hands, a household has but a single ruler.

Now some arts are divided into two separate branches, one concerned with the making of an object—for example a lyre or a flute—and the other with its use when made. Statecraft on the other hand shows us how to build up a nation from its beginning, as well as how to order rightly a nation that already exists; from which we infer that Housecraft also tells us first how to acquire a household and then how to conduct its affairs.

By a Nation we mean an assemblage of houses,2 lands, and property sufficient to enable the inhabitants to lead a civilized life. This is proved by the fact that when such a life is no longer possible for them, the tie itself which unites them is dissolved. Moreover,

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aristotle-oeconomica.1935