Ktēseis

working the land

Ἐχόμενον δὲ τούτων ἐστὶν ἐπισκέψασθαι περὶ τῆς κτήσεως, τίνα τρόπον δεῖ κατασκευάζεσθαι τοῖς μέλλουσι πολιτεύεσθαι τὴν ἀρίστην πολιτείαν, πότερον κοινὴν ἢ μὴ κοινὴν εἶναι τὴν κτῆσιν. τοῦτο δ’ ἄν τις καὶ χωρὶς σκέψαιτο ἀπὸ τῶν περὶ τὰ τέκνα καὶ τὰς γυναῖκας νενομοθετημένων, λέγω [δὲ τὰ περὶ τὴν κτῆσιν] πότερον, κἂν ᾖ ἐκεῖνα χωρὶς, καθ’ ὃν νῦν τρόπον ἔχει πᾶσι, τάς τε κτήσεις κοινὰς εἶναι βέλτιον καὶ τὰς χρήσεις . . . , οἷον τὰ μὲν γήπεδα χωρὶς τοὺς δὲ καρποὺς εἰς τὸ κοινὸν φέροντας ἀναλίσκειν (ὅπερ ἔνια ποιεῖ τῶν ἐθνῶν), ἢ τοὐναντίον τὴν μὲν γῆν κοινὴν εἶναι καὶ γεωργεῖν κοινῇ, τοὺς δὲ καρποὺς διαιρεῖσθαι πρὸς τὰς ἰδίας χρήσεις (λέγονται δέ τινες καὶ τοῦτον τὸν τρόπον κοινωνεῖν τῶν βαρβάρων), ἢ καὶ τὰ γήπεδα καὶ τοὺς καρποὺς κοινούς. ἑτέρων μὲν οὖν ὄντων τῶν γεωργούντων, ἄλλος ἂν εἴη τρόπος καὶ ῥᾴων, αὐτῶν δ’ αὑτοῖς διαπονούντων τὰ περὶ τὰς κτήσεις πλείους ἂν παρέχοι δυσκολίας. καὶ γὰρ ἐν ταῖς ἀπολαύσεσι καὶ ἐν τοῖς ἔργοις μὴ γινομένων ἴσων, ἀναγκαῖον ἐγκλήματα γίνεσθαι πρὸς τοὺς ἀπολαύοντας μὲν ἢ λαμβάνοντας πολλὰ ὀλίγα δὲ πονοῦντας τοῖς ἐλάττω μὲν λαμβάνουσι, πλείω δὲ πονοῦσιν. ὅλως δὲ τὸ συζῆν καὶ κοινωνεῖν τῶν ἀνθρωπικῶν πάντων χαλεπόν, καὶ μάλιστα τῶν τοιούτων. δηλοῦσι δ’ αἱ τῶν συναποδήμων κοινωνίαι, σχεδὸν γὰρ οἱ πλεῖστοι διαφέρονται ἐκ τῶν ἐν ποσὶ καὶ ἐκ μικρῶν προσκρούοντες ἀλλήλοις· ἔτι δὲ τῶν θεραπόντων τούτοις μάλιστα προσκρούομεν οἷς πλεῖστα προσχρώμεθα πρὸς τὰς διακονίας τὰς ἐγκυκλίους.
(Aristotle, Pol. 1262b37-1263a21)

Connected with the foregoing is the question of property. What arrangements should be made about it, if people are going to operate the best possible constitution? Should it be held in common or not ? This question may well be considered in isolation from the legislation about children and wives. A possible answer is that while they should belong to individuals, as is the universal practice, it would be better that either property or its use should be communal. In the latter case the plots of land are in private hands and its produce pooled for common use (as is done by some foreign nations); in the former, the land is communally held and communally worked but its produce is distributed according to individual requirements. This is a form of communal ownership which is said to exist among certain non-Greek peoples. There is also the alternative that both the land and its produce be owned communally. As to its cultivation, a different system will run more smoothly, i.e. if the land is worked by others, because, if they themselves work for their own benefit, there will be greater ill-feeling about the ownership. For if the work done and the benefit accrued are equal, well and good; but if not, there will inevitably be ill-feeling between those who get a good income without doing much work and those who work harder but get no corresponding extra benefit. To live together and share in any human concern is hard enough to achieve at the best of times, and such a state of affairs makes it doubly hard. The same kind of trouble is evident when a number of people club together for the purpose of travel. How often have we not seen such partnerships break down over quarrels arising out of trivial and unimportant matters! In the household also we get most annoyed with those servants whom we employ to perform the ordinary routine tasks. (tr. Thomas Alan Sinclair, revised by Trevor J. Saunders)

Aischunē

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In problematis Aristotelis philosophi ita scriptum est: Διὰ τί οἱ μὲν αἰσχυνόμενοι ὠχριῶσιν, παραπλησίων τῶν παθῶν ὄντων; ὅτι τῶν μὲν αἰσχυνομένων διαχεῖται τὸ αἷμα ἐκ τῆς καρδίας εἰς ἅπαντα τὰ μέρη τοῦ σώματος, ὥστε ἐπιπολάζειν· τοῖς δὲ φοβηθεῖσιν συντρέχει εἰς τὴν καρδίαν, ὥστε ἐκλείπειν ἐκ τῶν ἄλλων μερῶν [fr. 243 R3]. hoc ego Athenis cum Tauro nostro legissem percontatusque essem, quid de ratione ista reddita sentiret, “dixit quidem” inquit “probe et vere, quid accideret diffuso sanguine aut contracto, sed cur ita fieret, non dixit. adhuc enim quaeri potest, quam ob causam pudor sanguinem diffundat, timor contrahat, cum sit pudor species timoris atque ita definiatur: ‘timor iustae reprehensionis’. ita enim philosophi definiunt: αἰσχύνη ἐστὶν φόβος δικαίου ψόγου.”
(Aulus Gellius, Noct. Att. 19.6)

In the Problems of the philosopher Aristotle is the following passage: “Why do men who are ashamed turn red and those who fear grow pale; although these emotions are similar? Because the blood of those who feel shame flows from the heart to all parts of the body, and therefore comes to the surface; but the blood of those who fear rushes to the heart, and consequently leaves all the other parts of the body.” When I had read this at Athens with our friend Taurus and had asked him what he thought about that reason which had been assigned, he answered: “He has told us properly and truly what happens when the blood is diffused or concentrated, but he has not told us why this takes place. For the question may still be asked why it is that shame diffuses the blood and fear contracts it, when shame is a kind of fear and is defined by the philosophers as ‘the fear of just censure.’ For they say: αἰσχύνη ἐστὶν φόβος δικαίου ψόγου [shame is the fear of just censure].” (tr. John C. Rolfe)

Theous

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This is part 3 of 3. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.

Καὶ καθάπερ Ἡράκλειτος λέγεται πρὸς τοὺς ξένους εἰπεῖν τοὺς βουλομένους ἐντυχεῖν αὐτῷ, οἳ ἐπειδὴ προσιόντες εἶδον αὐτὸν θερόμενον πρὸς τῷ ἰπνῷ ἔστησαν (ἐκέλευε γὰρ αὐτοὺς εἰσιέναι θαρροῦντας· εἶναι γὰρ καὶ ἐνταῦθα θεούς), οὕτω καὶ πρὸς τὴν ζήτησιν περὶ ἑκάστου τῶν ζῴων προσιέναι δεῖ μὴ δυσωπούμενον, ὡς ἐν ἅπασιν ὄντος τινὸς φυσικοῦ καὶ καλοῦ.
(Aristotle, Part. An. 645a19-24)

And just as Heraclitus is said to have spoken to the visitors, who were wanting to meet him but stopped as they were approaching when they saw him warming himself at the oven—he kept telling them to come in and not to worry, “fore there are gods here too”—so we should approach the inquiry about each animal without aversion, knowing that in all of them there is something natural and beautiful. (tr. David M. Balme)

Thaumaston

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This is part 2 of 3. Part 1 is here. Part 3 is here.

Ἐπεὶ δὲ περὶ ἐκείνων διήλθομεν λέγοντες τὸ φαινόμενον ἡμῖν, λοιπὸν περὶ τῆς ζωϊκῆς φύσεως εἰπεῖν, μηδὲν παραλιπόντας εἰς δύναμιν μήτε ἀτιμότερον μήτε τιμιώτερον. καὶ γὰρ ἐν τοῖς μὴ κεχαρισμένοις αὐτῶν πρὸς τὴν αἴσθησιν κατὰ τὴν θεωρίαν ὁμοίως ἡ δημιουργήσασα φύσις ἀμηχάνους ἡδονὰς παρέχει τοῖς δυναμένοις τὰς αἰτίας γνωρίζειν καὶ φύσει φιλοσόφοις. καὶ γὰρ ἂν εἴη παράλογον καὶ ἄτοπον, εἰ τὰς μὲν εἰκόνας αὐτῶν θεωροῦντες χαίρομεν ὅτι τὴν δημιουργήσασαν τέχνην συνθεωροῦμεν, οἷον τὴν γραφικὴν ἢ τὴν πλαστικήν, αὐτῶν δὲ τῶν φύσει συνεστώτων μὴ μᾶλλον ἀγαπῷμεν τὴν θεωρίαν, δυνάμενοί γε τὰς αἰτίας καθορᾶν. διὸ δεῖ μὴ δυσχεραίνειν παιδικῶς τὴν περὶ τῶν ἀτιμοτέρων ζῴων ἐπίσκεψιν· ἐν πᾶσι γὰρ τοῖς φυσικοῖς ἔνεστί τι θαυμαστόν·
(Aristotle, Part. An. 645a4-645a19)

And since we have completed the account of our views concerning these, it remains to speak about animal nature, omitting nothing if possible whether of lesser or greater value. For even in the study of animals unattractive to the senses, the nature that fashioned them offers immeasurable pleasures in the same way to those who can learn the causes and are naturally lovers of wisdom. It would be unreasonable, indeed absurd, to enjoy studying their representations on the grounds that we thereby study the art that fashioned them (painting or sculpture), but not to welcome still more the study of the actual things composed by nature, at least when we can survey their causes. Therefore we must avoid a childish distaste for examining the less valued animals. For in all natural things there is something wonderful. (tr. David M. Balme)

Suntrophon

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This is part 1 of 3. Part 2 is here. Part 3 is here.

Τῶν οὐσιῶν ὅσαι φύσει συνεστᾶσι, τὰς μὲν <λέγομεν> ἀγενήτους καὶ ἀφθάρτους εἶναι τὸν ἅπαντα αἰῶνα, τὰς δὲ μετέχειν γενέσεως καὶ φθορᾶς. συμβέβηκε δὲ περὶ μὲν ἐκείνας τιμίας οὔσας καὶ θείας ἐλάττους ἡμῖν ὑπάρχειν θεωρίας (καὶ γὰρ ἐξ ὧν ἄν τις σκέψαιτο περὶ αὐτῶν, καὶ περὶ ὧν εἰδέναι ποθοῦμεν, παντελῶς ἐστὶν ὀλίγα τὰ φανερὰ κατὰ τὴν αἴσθησιν), περὶ δὲ τῶν φθαρτῶν φυτῶν τε καὶ ζῴων εὐποροῦμεν μᾶλλον πρὸς τὴν γνῶσιν διὰ τὸ σύντροφον· πολλὰ γὰρ περὶ ἕκαστον γένος λάβοι τις ἂν τῶν ὑπαρχόντων βουλόμενος διαπονεῖν ἱκανῶς. ἔχει δ’ ἑκάτερα χάριν. τῶν μὲν γὰρ εἰ καὶ κατὰ μικρὸν ἐφαπτόμεθα, ὅμως διὰ τὴν τιμιότητα τοῦ γνωρίζειν ἥδιον ἢ τὰ παρ’ ἡμῖν ἅπαντα, ὥσπερ καὶ τῶν ἐρωμένων τὸ τυχὸν καὶ μικρὸν μόριον κατιδεῖν ἥδιόν ἐστιν ἢ πολλὰ ἕτερα καὶ μεγάλα δι’ ἀκριβείας ἰδεῖν· τὰ δὲ διὰ τὸ μᾶλλον καὶ πλείω γνωρίζειν αὐτῶν λαμβάνει τὴν τῆς ἐπιστήμης ὑπεροχήν, ἔτι δὲ διὰ τὸ πλησιαίτερα ἡμῶν εἶναι καὶ τῆς φύσεως οἰκειότερα ἀντικαταλλάττεταί τι πρὸς τὴν περὶ τὰ θεῖα φιλοσοφίαν.
(Aristotle, Part. An. 644b23-645a4)

Of all beings naturally composed, some are ungenerated and imperishable for the whole of eternity, but others are subject to coming-to-be and perishing. It has come about that in relation to the former, which possess value—indeed divinity—the studies we can make are less, because both the starting-points of the inquiry and the things we long to know about present extremely few appearances to observation. We are better equipped to acquire knowledge about the perishable plants and animals because they grow beside us: much can be learned about each existing kind if one is willing to take sufficient pains. Both studies have their attractions. Though we grasp only a little of the former, yet because the information is valuable we gain more pleasure than from everything around us, just as a small and random glimpse of those we love pleases us more than seeing many other things large and in detail. But the latter, because the information about them is better and more plentiful, take the advantage in knowledge. Also, because they are closer to us and belong more to our nature, they have their own compensations in comparison with the philosophy concerned with the divine things. (tr. David M. Balme)

Ēthos

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Ὅμηρος δὲ ἄλλα τε πολλὰ ἄξιος ἐπαινεῖσθαι καὶ δὴ καὶ ὅτι μόνος τῶν ποιητῶν οὐκ ἀγνοεῖ ὃ δεῖ ποιεῖν αὐτόν. αὐτὸν γὰρ δεῖ τὸν ποιητὴν ἐλάχιστα λέγειν· οὐ γάρ ἐστι κατὰ ταῦτα μιμητής. οἱ μὲν οὖν ἄλλοι αὐτοὶ μὲν δι’ ὅλου ἀγωνίζονται, μιμοῦνται δὲ ὀλίγα καὶ ὀλιγάκις· ὁ δὲ ὀλίγα φροιμιασάμενος εὐθὺς εἰσάγει ἄνδρα ἢ γυναῖκα ἢ ἄλλο τι ἦθος, καὶ οὐδέν’ ἀήθη ἀλλ’ ἔχοντα ἦθος. δεῖ μὲν οὖν ἐν ταῖς τραγῳδίαις ποιεῖν τὸ θαυμαστόν, μᾶλλον δ’ ἐνδέχεται ἐν τῇ ἐποποιίᾳ τὸ ἄλογον, δι’ ὃ συμβαίνει μάλιστα τὸ θαυμαστόν, διὰ τὸ μὴ ὁρᾶν εἰς τὸν πράττοντα· ἐπεὶ τὰ περὶ τὴν Ἕκτορος δίωξιν ἐπὶ σκηνῆς ὄντα γελοῖα ἂν φανείη, οἱ μὲν ἑστῶτες καὶ οὐ διώκοντες, ὁ δὲ ἀνανεύων, ἐν δὲ τοῖς ἔπεσιν λανθάνει. τὸ δὲ θαυμαστὸν ἡδύ· σημεῖον δέ, πάντες γὰρ προστιθέντες ἀπαγγέλλουσιν ὡς χαριζόμενοι.
(Aristotle, Poet. 1460a5-18)

Homer deserves praise for many other qualities, but especially for realising, alone among epic poets, the place of the poet’s own voice. For the poet should say as little as possible in his own voice, as it is not this that makes him a mimetic artist. The others participate in their own voice throughout, and engage in mimesis only briefly and occasionally, whereas Homer, after a brief introduction, at once “brings onto stage” a man, woman, or other figure (all of them rich in character). In tragedy one needs to create a sense of awe, but epic has more scope for the irrational (the chief cause of awe), because we do not actually see the agent. The entire pursuit of Hector, if put on stage, would strike us as ludicrous—with the men standing and refraining from pursuit, and Achilles forbidding them—but in epic this goes unnoticed. Awe is pleasurable: witness the fact that all men exaggerate when relating stories, to give delight. (tr. Stephen Halliwell)

Politikon

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Διότι δὲ πολιτικὸν ὁ ἄνθρωπος ζῷον πάσης μελίττης καὶ παντὸς ἀγελαίου ζῴου μᾶλλον, δῆλον. οὐθὲν γάρ, ὡς φαμέν, μάτην ἡ φύσις ποιεῖ· λόγον δὲ μόνον ἄνθρωπος ἔχει τῶν ζῴων· ἡ μὲν οὖν φωνὴ τοῦ λυπηροῦ καὶ ἡδέος ἐστὶ σημεῖον, διὸ καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις ὑπάρχει ζῴοις (μέχρι γὰρ τούτου ἡ φύσις αὐτῶν ἐλήλυθε, τοῦ ἔχειν αἴσθησιν λυπηροῦ καὶ ἡδέος καὶ ταῦτα σημαίνειν ἀλλήλοις), ὁ δὲ λόγος ἐπὶ τῷ δηλοῦν ἐστι τὸ συμφέρον καὶ τὸ βλαβερόν, ὥστε καὶ τὸ δίκαιον καὶ τὸ ἄδικον· τοῦτο γὰρ πρὸς τὰ ἄλλα ζῷα τοῖς ἀνθρώποις ἴδιον, τὸ μόνον ἀγαθοῦ καὶ κακοῦ καὶ δικαίου καὶ ἀδίκου καὶ τῶν ἄλλων αἴσθησιν ἔχειν· ἡ δὲ τούτων κοινωνία ποιεῖ οἰκίαν καὶ πόλιν. καὶ πρότερον δὲ τῇ φύσει πόλις ἢ οἰκία καὶ ἕκαστος ἡμῶν ἐστιν. τὸ γὰρ ὅλον πρότερον ἀναγκαῖον εἶναι τοῦ μέρους· ἀναιρουμένου γὰρ τοῦ ὅλου οὐκ ἔσται ποὺς οὐδὲ χείρ, εἰ μὴ ὁμωνύμως, ὥσπερ εἴ τις λέγοι τὴν λιθίνην· διαφθαρεῖσα γὰρ ἔσται τοιαύτη, πάντα δὲ τῷ ἔργῳ ὥρισται καὶ τῇ δυνάμει, ὥστε μηκέτι τοιαῦτα ὄντα οὐ λεκτέον τὰ αὐτὰ εἶναι ἀλλ’ ὁμώνυμα. ὅτι μὲν οὖν ἡ πόλις καὶ φύσει πρότερον ἢ ἕκαστος, δῆλον· εἰ γὰρ μὴ αὐτάρκης ἕκαστος χωρισθείς, ὁμοίως τοῖς ἄλλοις μέρεσιν ἕξει πρὸς τὸ ὅλον, ὁ δὲ μὴ δυνάμενος κοινωνεῖν ἢ μηδὲν δεόμενος δι’ αὐτάρκειαν οὐθὲν μέρος πόλεως, ὥστε ἢ θηρίον ἢ θεός.
(Aristotle, Pol. 1253a7-28)

But obviously man is a political animal in a sense in which a bee is not, or any other gregarious animal. Nature, as we say, does nothing without some purpose; and she has endowed man alone among the animals with the power of speech. Speech is something different from voice, which is possessed by other animals also and used by them to express pain or pleasure; for their nature does indeed enable them not only to feel pleasure and pain but to communicate these feelings to each other. Speech, on the other hand serves to indicate what is useful and what is harmful, and so also what is just and what is unjust. For the real difference between man and other animals is that humans alone have perception of good and evil, just and unjust, etc. It is the sharing of a common view in these matters that makes a household and a state. Furthermore, the state has a natural priority over the household and over any individual among us. For the whole must be prior to the part. Separate hand or foot from the whole body, and they will no longer be hand or foot except in name, as one might speak of a ‘hand’ or ‘foot’ sculptured in stone. That will be the condition of the spoilt hand, which no longer has the capacity and the function which define it. So, though we may say they have the same names, we cannot say that they are, in that condition, the same things. It is clear then that the state is both natural and prior to the individual. For if an individual is not fully self-sufficient after separation, he will stand in the same relationship to the whole as the parts in the other case do. Whatever is incapable of participating in the association which we call the state, a dumb animal for example, and equally whatever is perfectly self-sufficient and has no need to (e.g. a god), is not a part of the state at all. (tr. Thomas Alan Sinclair, revised by Trevor J. Saunders)