Wednesday, April 15, 2020


The Laws

Demosthenes 25.20 (tr. A.T. Murray):
For if any of you cares to inquire what is the motive-power that calls together the Council, draws the people into the Assembly, fills the law-courts, makes the old officials resign readily to the new, and enables the whole life of the State to be carried on and preserved, he will find that it is the laws and the obedience that all men yield to the laws; since, if once they were done away with and every man were given licence to do as he liked, not only does the constitution vanish, but our life would not differ from that of the beasts of the field.

εἰ γάρ τις ὑμῶν ἐξετάσαι βούλεται τί ποτ᾽ ἐστὶ τὸ αἴτιον καὶ τὸ ποιοῦν τὴν βουλὴν συλλέγεσθαι, τὸν δῆμον εἰς τὴν ἐκκλησίαν ἀναβαίνειν, τὰ δικαστήρια πληροῦσθαι, τὰς ἕνας ἀρχὰς ταῖς νέαις ἑκούσας ὑπεξιέναι, καὶ πάντα δι᾽ ὧν ἡ πόλις οἰκεῖται καὶ σῴζεται γίγνεσθαι, τοὺς νόμους εὑρήσει τούτων αἰτίους καὶ τὸ τούτοις ἅπαντας πείθεσθαι, ἐπεὶ λυθέντων γε τούτων, καὶ ἑκάστῳ δοθείσης ἐξουσίας ὅ τι βούλεται ποιεῖν, οὐ μόνον ἡ πολιτεία οἴχεται, ἀλλ᾽ οὐδ᾽ ὁ βίος ἡμῶν τοῦ τῶν θηρίων οὐδὲν ἂν διενέγκαι.

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