Dēmos · Classical Athenian Democracy · a Stoa Publication
→ Passages: Defining the City State.
Thomas R. Martin, with Neel Smith & Jennifer F.Stuart, edition of July 26, 2003
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1279a: 21: A city-state is a partnership of the free.
1255b: 16-20: Rule in a city-state is the rule of those who are free and equal. This is not the same as mastery, where one is a slave and the other is a ruler.
1252a: 1-7: Every city-state is a kind of partnership, and every partnership is created for the sake of something good. Political partnership, which is called the city-state, aims at the most authoritative good of all.
1252b: 29-30: The city-state comes into being for the sake of living, but it exists for the sake of living “well” (to eu zen). [This phrase implies more than what is usually meant by “living well” in English, which is to say “being prosperous.” The Greek phrase implies above all a life lived in accordance with excellence (arete). Living a prosperous life is not necessarily in conflict with this notion but is certainly not the principal implication of living “well” in Greek. See the next passage.]
1280b: 29-1281a8: A city-state is clearly not just living together in a shared territory for mutual defense and the exchange of goods. It is rather a partnership among households, clans, and villages for living “well,” for the sake of a fully developed and self-sufficient life. Those who contribute most to a partnership of this sort have a greater part in the city than those who are equal or greater in freedom or family, but unequal in political excellence, or those who outdo them in wealth, but are outdone in excellence.
1323b: 30-34: The best city-state is happy and acts finely. It is impossible for those who do not do fine things to act finely. There is no fine action of man or city-state apart from excellence and thinking.
1253a: 37: Justice is a thing of the city-state.
1282b: 16-18: The political good is justice, and justice is the common advantage.
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