Skip to main content

Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

See other formats

ARISTOCRACY.                                        3

wealth, and in the enjoyment of high consideration among
the people, the government will often be mild and patriotic.
But where another class arises of newly enriched families who
demand privileges which are denied them by the old families,
or where a few, a faction, and that a suspicious faction, have
possession of power and wield it selfishly, such governments
we describe as oligarchies. But there is no marked line sep-
arating the two types*

The names given by the Greeks to the members of this
upper class, varied greatly in different communities. Some-
times they are called eupatrid&> or by other names denoting
birth (as ez/yez/efc, well-born), or are described by their prop-
erty (as the rich, the ivcll to do^ evvropoL), or the land-owners,
if so we may translate the word yd/^opo^ those who had a
portion of the land, a name for this class in Samos, and at
Syracuse as late as the Peloponnesian wan Their names
again might be derived from their position or their culture.
Of this kind were the titles, the best, cipicrToi, and the xa\oi
jctiyaffot, which were used also at Athens in the times of the
democracy to denote the upper, more respectable part of
society. Other names came from the kind of military service
which they performed* Thus they were known in some,
places as horsemen (nnrefe), since the keeping of a horse in
Greece implied a higher than the ordinary amount of wealth,
or possibly as hoplitesf since the heavy-armed soldier needed
servants in war to hold his shield, and perform other offices,
,AU these ways of denoting the governing class run back to
the possession of wealth, especially of land, and to birth,
which in time was held Jn less and less honor. Wealth thea
remained with the privileges which it brought with it, as the
basis of oligarchy, and when commerce grew up in favored
cities and placed wealth in new families, these, in course of
time, began to feel that they were equal to the old eupatri4a&
It was natural and common for the upper class to avoid
riages with the new families, but this usage being

* Comp* Aristot Pol, vi., or iv<> ID,  to, ami vi* of far* f* 14*