Ι. Περὶ δὲ τῆς Ἀθηναίων πολιτείας, ὅτι μὲν εἵλοντο τοῦτον τὸν τρόπον τῆς πολιτείας, οὐκ ἐπαινῶ διὰ τόδε, ὅτι ταῦθ᾿ ἑλόμενοι εἵλοντο τοῦς πονηροὺς ἄμεινον πράττειν ἢ τοὺς χρηστούς. διὰ μὲν οὖν τοῦτο οὐκ ἐπαινῶ· ἐπεὶ δὲ ταῦτα ἔδοξεν οὕτως1 αὐτοῖς, ὡς εὖ διασῴζονται τὴν πολιτείαν καὶ τἆλλα διαπράττονται ἃ δοκοῦσιν ἁμαρτάνειν τοῖς ἄλλοις Ἕλλησι, τοῦτ᾿ ἀποδείξω.

2Πρῶτον μὲν οὖν τοῦτο ἐρῶ, ὅτι δίκαιοι2 αὐτόθι καὶ οἱ πένητες καὶ ὁ δῆμος πλέον ἔχειν3 τῶν γενναίων καὶ τῶν πλουσίων διὰ τόδε, ὅτι ὁ δῆμός ἐστιν ὁ ἐλαύνων τὰς ναῦς καὶ ὁ τὴν δύναμιν περιτιθεὶς τῇ πόλει, καὶ οἱ κυβερνῆται καὶ οἱ κελευσταὶ καὶ οἱ πεντηκόνταρχοι καὶ οἱ πρῳρᾶται καὶ οἱ ναυπηγοί,—οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ τὴν δύναμιν περιτιθέντες τῇ πόλει πολὺ μᾶλλον ἢ οἱ ὁπλῖται4 καὶ οἱ γενναῖοι καὶ οἱ χρηστοί. ἐπειδὴ οὖν ταῦτα οὕτως ἔχει, δοκεῖ δίκαιον εἶναι πᾶσι τῶν ἀρχῶν


The Athenians, i.

The Constitution of the Athenians

by Xenophon the Orator

I. And as for the fact that the Athenians have chosen the kind of constitution that they have, I do not think well of their doing this inasmuch as in making their choice they have chosen to let the worst people be better off than the good. Therefore, on this account I do not think well of their constitution. But since they have decided to have it so, I intend to point out how well they preserve their constitution and accomplish those other things for which the rest of the Greeks criticize them.1

First I want to say this: there the poor and the2 people generally are right to have more than the highborn and wealthy for the reason that it is the people who man the ships and impart strength to the city; the steersmen, the boatswains, the sub-boatswains, the look-out officers, and the shipwrights—these are the ones who impart strength to the city far more than the hoplites, the high-born, and the good men. This being the case, it seems right for everyone to have a

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.xenophon_athens-constitution_athenians.1925