How to Innovate: An Ancient Guide to Creative Thinking 2021010048, 9780691213736, 9780691223599, 0691213739

What we can learn about fostering innovation and creative thinking from some of the most inventive people of all times--

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How to Innovate: An Ancient Guide to Creative Thinking
 2021010048, 9780691213736, 9780691223599, 0691213739

Table of contents :
Cover
Contents
Preface
Introduction
1. Principlesof Change
The Logic of Change
2. The Conditions of Creation
The Eureka Imperative
3. The Principleof Disruption
A Winning Strategy
4. The Benefits of Competition
The Fatherof Invention
5. The Uses and Abuses of Innovation
Aristotle on Constitutions
Further Reading

Citation preview

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Ancient Wisdom for Modern Readers For a full list of titles in the series, go to https://­press​ .­princeton​.­edu​/­series​/­ancient​-­wisdom​-­for​-­modern​-­readers​. How to Innovate: An Ancient Guide to Creative Thinking by Aristotle How to Be a Farmer: An Ancient Guide to Life on the Land by Many Hands How to Tell a Joke: An Ancient Guide to the Art of Humor by Marcus Tullius Cicero How to Keep an Open Mind: An Ancient Guide to Thinking Like a Skeptic by Sextus Empiricus How to Be Content: An Ancient Poet’s Guide for an Age of Excess by Horace How to Give: An Ancient Guide to Giving and Receiving by Seneca How to Drink: A Classical Guide to the Art of Imbibing by Vincent Obsopoeus How to Be a Bad Emperor: An Ancient Guide to Truly Terrible Leaders by Suetonius How to Be a Leader: An Ancient Guide to Wise Leadership by Plutarch How to Think about God: An Ancient Guide for Believers and Nonbelievers by Marcus Tullius Cicero How to Keep Your Cool: An Ancient Guide to Anger Management by Seneca How to Think about War: An Ancient Guide to Foreign Policy by Thucydides

HOW TO INNOVATE An Ancient Guide to Creative Thinking

Aristotle Selected, translated, and introduced by Armand D’Angour

PRINCE ­T O N U N IV E RSIT Y P RE SS PRIN C E ­T O N AN D O X FO RD

Copyright © 2021 by Armand D’Angour Prince­ton University Press is committed to the protection of copyright and the intellectual property our authors entrust to us. Copyright promotes the pro­gress and integrity of knowledge. Thank you for supporting ­free speech and the global exchange of ideas by purchasing an authorized edition of this book. If you wish to reproduce or distribute any part of it in any form, please obtain permission. Requests for permission to reproduce material from this work should be sent to permissions@press​.­princeton​.­edu Published by Prince­ton University Press 41 William Street, Prince­ton, New Jersey 08540 6 Oxford Street, Woodstock, Oxfordshire OX20 1TR press​.­princeton​.­edu All Rights Reserved Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Aristotle. Works. Selections. English. | Aristotle. Works. Selections. | D’Angour, Armand, editor, translator, writer of introduction. Title: How to innovate : an ancient guide to creative thinking /  Aristotle [and others] ; selected, translated, and introduced by Armand D’Angour. Description: Princeton : Princeton University Press, [2021] | Includes selections of works by Aristotle, Athenaeus, and Diodorus. | Includes bibliographical references and index. | In English and Greek. Identifiers: LCCN 2021010048 | ISBN 9780691213736 (hardback ; acid-free paper) | ISBN 9780691223599 (ebook) Subjects: LCSH: Technological innovations—Greece—Early works to 1800. | BISAC: PHILOSOPHY / History & Surveys / Ancient & Classical | SELF-HELP / Creativity Classification: LCC T16 .H69 2021 | DDC 609/.009—dc23 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2021010048 British Library Cataloging-­in-­Publication Data is available Editorial: Rob Tempio and Matt Rohal Production Editorial: Sara Lerner Text and Jacket Design: Pamela L. Schnitter Production: Erin Suydam Publicity: Maria Whelan and Amy Stewart Copyeditor: Kathleen Kageff Jacket Credit: Statue of Archimedes in a bathtub, demonstrating the principle of buoyant force. Located at Madatech, Israel’s National Museum of Science, Technology, and Space. Photo: Aquatarkus / Shutterstock This book has been composed in Stempel Garamond Printed on acid-­free paper. ∞ Printed in the United States of Amer­i­ca 1 ​3 ​5 ​7 ​9 ​10 ​8 ​6 ​4 ​2

Thinking new thoughts e­ very day νέα ἐϕ’ ἡμέρῃ ϕρονέοντϵς —Democritus, phi­los­o­pher, fifth c­ entury BCE

CONTENTS

preface introduction

ix xiii

1  Princi­ples of Change

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The Logic of Change

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2  The Conditions of Creation The Eureka Imperative

3  The Princi­ple of Disruption A Winning Strategy

4  The Benefits of Competition The ­Father of Invention

5  The Uses and Abuses of Innovation Aristotle on Constitutions further reading

18 31 52 59 68 77 82 87 135

PREFACE

It used to be said that the ancient Greeks ­were not keen on innovation. That view was based on a partial and insufficiently discerning interpretation of the evidence of ancient writings, and historians now recognize that the Greeks w ­ ere never as disinclined to innovate as had been assumed. In fact, what requires explanation is the conspicuously innovative achievement that has always been recognized as a feature of ancient Greek society. Certain conditions, fertile for innovation, must have allowed for the range of inventions and discoveries that makes ancient Greek culture so influential for its inheritors in subsequent generations. In addition to t­ hese conditions, vari­ous mechanisms can be seen to underlie their innovative practices: mechanisms such as the borrowing

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and adaptation of external ideas, the cross-­ fertilizing of disparate disciplines, and the posing of disruptive critiques to the ideas and practices of their pre­de­ces­sors. ­These princi­ples of innovation w ­ ere not systematically formulated by the Greeks themselves. They emerge from vari­ous writings that address the notion of innovation in dif­fer­ent ways. The format of this book therefore, while taking a single and overridingly influential author, Aristotle, to provide the central texts, adduces other less well known ancient sources to illustrate innovations that represent the key mechanisms of the Greeks’ innovative practices.

Note on the Texts For ease of matching translation to the original, I have divided up the texts of Aristotle and Athenaeus into shorter paragraphs and provided a new alphabetic numeration for each section. x

P reface

The numbering and structure of the texts of Diodorus is that of the standard scholarly editions. I have aimed to create translations that are both accurate and readable, using the Greek texts (with a few minor variants) of the Loeb Classical Library editions.



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INTRODUCTION

Innovation is the driving force of the modern world. In technology, politics, business, art, ­music, academia, the military, and countless other areas of life, change is constant, and the search for novelty is unremitting. Responses to change range from excitement to fear; change means loss, and when ­things are changing fast ­there can be l­ ittle time to digest what has been lost and to embrace the new. While some may feel a pressure to be innovative, o ­ thers are perplexed about the meaning of innovation and the value of the new. What is innovation, and how is one to think about creating change? Athens in the archaic and classical period (around 800 to 300 BCE) was a fast-­changing society in which the idea of innovation was, for the first time in the written rec­ord, explic­itly

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raised and discussed. The earliest use of a word for forging something new (Greek kainotomia) is found in a comic play by the dramatist Aristophanes, dating from the late fifth ­century BCE. While it’s often said that the ancient Greeks w ­ ere averse to novelty and reluctant to innovate, their writings show that in a range of disciplines they w ­ ere well aware of the power and advantages of the new. “I ­don’t sing the old songs, my new songs are better,” run the lines of some lyr­ics composed by the singer-­songwriter Timotheus of Miletus in the late fifth ­century BCE. A similar promotion of novelty can be found in many other fields of activity and intellectual pursuits of the period. Despite largely conducting their lives within the bounds of a traditional agrarian society, the classical Greeks ­were responsible for creating a series of world-­changing innovations. Early in the period of their efflorescence they in­ven­ted xiv

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the alphabet, by borrowing and adapting letterforms used in the Near Eastern nation of Phoenicia; and the Greek alphabet, as further adapted by the Romans, has been central to communication ever since. They went on to invent philosophy, logic, rhe­ toric, and mathematical proof; to be the first prac­ti­tion­ers of theatrical drama, rational medicine, monetary coinage, and lifelike sculpture; and to create competitive athletics, architectural canons, the self-­ governing city-­ state (polis), and demo­ cratic politics. ­These transformative cultural changes, which took place over the five centuries from 800 to 300 BCE, cannot have happened by accident. None of the Greeks’ creations nor the products thereof, some of which have never been surpassed, could have come into being without the contributions of individuals who created and operated in conditions fertile for change,

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who w ­ ere prepared and keen to innovate, and who understood how to exploit the means of ­doing so. Some Greeks also sought to understand the conditions that made innovation pos­si­ble; and descriptions of the creative procedures that led to many of the Greeks’ novel achievements are preserved in their writings. What surviving texts illustrate is that, while the pro­cesses of creativity are potentially endless, the creation of the new relies on a few basic princi­ples: notably, the adaptation of existing ele­ments, the cross-­ fertilization of disparate entities, and the disruption of previous conditions. On t­ hese princi­ples and combinations of them, change was created in practice for centuries. It inspired the earliest Greek thinkers from the sixth c­ entury BCE to ask questions such as “where does every­thing come from?” and “what is change?” ­Toward the end of the classical period, Aristotle (384–322 xvi

Introduction

BCE) sought to analyze the logic of change on dif­fer­ent levels, natu­ral, metaphysical, and po­liti­cal. Aristotle’s theoretical analy­sis of change in Physics book 1 begins by refuting the counterintuitive notion proposed by pre­de­ces­sors such as Parmenides that change itself is impossible. He goes on to argue that all change requires a preexisting situation or substrate from which change can and must proceed. His argument may be generalized to affirm that the new depends on the old, a position summarized in Physics book 1. Aristotle was keen to understand change in practice as well as in theory. The key po­liti­cal unit of the Greek world of his time was the polis (in­de­pen­dent citizen-­run state): around a thousand existed in the classical period. How the polis might best be or­ga­ nized is the focus of the phi­los­o­pher’s discussion in his Politics book 2. T ­ here Aristotle

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discusses and critiques the governments of some existing states and considers blueprints for new kinds of government, such as ­those proposed by Socrates in Plato’s Republic and Plato in his Laws, as well as examining the innovative constitutional proposals of less well known po­liti­ cal theorists. The novelty in thought and action generated by the Greek city-­states of classical times laid the basis for the artistic, intellectual, and scientific discoveries, some two millennia l­ater, of the Eu­ro­pean Re­nais­sance. Writers and artists in that period of rebirth supposed that they ­were engaged in a recreation of Greek ideas in science, art, m ­ usic, and many other fields. A large part of the education offered in Re­nais­ sance universities involved the interpretation of Aristotle’s works and the study of his ancient commentators. It made sense for thinkers then, and it still makes sense ­today, to look to the xvii i

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­great phi­los­o­pher of antiquity to deepen our understanding about, among other t­ hings, the princi­ples of change. The two longest texts chosen for this book, taken from Aristotle’s Physics 1 and Politics 2 to accompany the first and last chapters, respectively pre­sent the phi­los­o­pher’s closely argued theoretical analy­sis of change and his extensive criticism of proposals for innovation in the sphere of politics. Aristotle’s discussion of the logic of change and variation in Physics argues that change can be understood only in relation to a per­sis­tent under­lying ele­ment. His treatment of “constitutions” in Politics 2 considers in detail, and levels criticisms at, existing forms of government and at theoretical attempts to devise new kinds of government for the polis. It concludes with the brief but impor­tant observation that the value of innovation differs depending on the domain in which it is applied.

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In addition to ­these, a se­lection of shorter Greek texts from antiquity are appended to the intervening chapters to illustrate ancient accounts of par­tic­u­lar instances of the creation of change: Chapter 2: The description of the ship Syracusia, recorded in detail by the second-­century CE author of The Learned Banqueters, Athenaeus of Naucratis. This proj­ect required Archimedes to discover his innovative formulation of the princi­ple of buoyancy, which may be argued to underlie the famous story of his “Eureka moment.” Chapter  3: An account of the contrarian strategy of the general Epaminondas at the ­Battle of Leuctra in 371 BCE. The story of the Theban commander’s success in using the tactics of an “oblique phalanx” is recounted by the Sicilian historian in The Library of History, Diodorus Siculus. xx

Introduction

Chapter 4: The report of a competition set up by the king Dionysius of Syracuse in early fourth-­century Sicily, which led to the invention of new weapons such as the catapult, also by Diodorus Siculus.



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1 Princi­ples of Change The question of change was of consuming interest to the earliest Greek natu­ral phi­los­o­phers, who flourished in the cities of Ionia (modern western Turkey) in the sixth ­century BCE. Where did every­thing come from? they asked. Can something come from nothing? It seemed clear enough that nothing can come from nothing. But for some this meant that t­here can therefore be no starting point, no absolute beginning or first moment of creation; while for ­others (Parmenides and the Eleatic school) it suggested, counterintuitively to experience, that t­here was no possibility of genesis or change at all.



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Traditional Greek myths proposed that every­thing began from a transcendent starting point such as a god or super­natural ele­ment. The notion of an eternal regress was unappealing to most Greeks; and the ­wholesale denial of change contradicted the phenomena of daily life. From observation of the world around them, the earliest thinkers sought a dif­fer­ent, nonmythical, solution to the question of the “first princi­ple” (archē). Many of t­hese thinkers, who ­were called in their time “physical” phi­los­o­phers (i.e., students of nature, physis), came up with variations of the idea that the universe in all its multiplicity must have arisen from a single natu­ral ele­ment that underlies all creation. What could that prime ele­ment be? The first “physical phi­los­o­pher” to be identified by Aristotle, Thales of Miletus, claimed that it was ­water. The fact that ­water is essential to life, 2

P rinci­ples of Change

growth, and health, and is found in visibly dif­ fer­ent forms—­liquid, vapor, snow, and ice—­ makes it a plausible choice. But subsequent thinkers declared that ­there must be a yet more fundamental ele­ment: Anaximenes identified it as air; Heraclitus thought it was fire. A dif­fer­ ent kind of solution was proposed by Anaximander, who argued that the origin of every­ thing was an abstract princi­ple that he called “the Limitless.” The choice of early phi­los­o­phers to identify the ground of being with a single ele­ment (on account of which ­these thinkers are called “monists”) raised evident prob­ lems. How could any single ele­ment give rise to the dif­fer­ent ones? How can ­water turn into fire, air into earth? Could “the Limitless” have given rise to any of t­ hese ele­ments? In the early fifth c­ entury, Parmenides of Elea concluded that the very notion of change was illogical and illusory. His

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con­temporary, the Sicilian Empedocles of Acragas, took a dif­fer­ent view, proposing that four basic ele­ments—­water, air, fire, and earth—­were fundamental to creation, and that the universe consists of innumerable transformations of ­these prime ele­ments. Just as plants exist and grow by using all four ele­ments earth, air, sun, and w ­ ater, every­thing in the world must derive from t­ hese as they combine with and separate from each other: Empedocles named the combining force Love, and the separating force Strife. Empedocles calls ­these ele­ments the “roots” of the cosmos. On his account, the four fundamental roots of being interact to give rise to the myriad multiplicity of the universe. While the term “radical” innovation (from the Latin for “root,” radix) nowadays implies a novelty with no basis in what has gone e­ arlier, logically (as Aristotle was to affirm) the new can arise only 4

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out of preexisting ele­ments. “Radical” novelty, then, should not be used to designate something that is new roots and all, but only something that is new from the roots up. Figuratively speaking, the roots are hidden in the earth, while what’s new is the growth that is vis­i­ble above the ground. A generation ­after Empedocles, Democritus proposed that the universe is made from tiny particles that he called atoms (from atoma, “indivisibles”). On his theory, ­ these are what combine to form the material world. His physical views w ­ ere propagated by the third-­century BCE phi­los­o­pher Epicurus of Samos and ­were given magnificent expression in the ­great philosophical poem in Latin De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of ­Things) by the first-­century BCE Roman poet Lucretius. Modern physics agrees with Democritus, but his theory ­didn’t seize the popu­lar imagination in ancient times. For

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millennia a­fter Empedocles, p ­ eople found it easier to suppose that every­thing in the universe was a product of the four ele­ments he had identified and their infinite combinations. In the fourth c­ entury BCE, Aristotle followed the philosophical teachings of Plato with physical and scientific as well as ethical investigations, in which he sought to articulate and analyze the notions of change and innovation in vari­ous domains, in par­tic­u­lar ­those of the natu­ral world and the arena of politics and society. Aristotle’s discussion of physical change in Physics is characteristically spare and

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dry since he was concerned to pre­sent rigorously compelling arguments. His discussion, the tone of which the chosen se­lection gives a flavor, refutes Parmenides’s negation of change by arguing that coming-­to-be requires positing an under­lying entity (“what is”). From this a new structure emerges, which both relates to the previous entity and alters it. For purposes of creating something new, the key point that arises from this discussion is that, in practice as well as in logic, change cannot take place without the existence of some under­lying ­thing that ­will be the subject of that change.



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[A] ζητοῦντες γὰρ οἱ  κατὰ φιλοσοφίαν πρῶτοι τὴν ἀλήθειαν καὶ τὴν φύσιν τὴν τῶν ὄντων ἐξετράπησαν οἷον ὁδόν τινα ἄλλην ἀπωσθέντες ὑπὸ ἀπειρίας, καί φασιν οὔτε γίνεσθαι τῶν ὄντων οὐδὲν οὔτε φθείρεσθαι, διὰ τὸ ἀναγκαῖον μὲν εἶναι γίγνεσθαι τὸ γιγνόμενον ἢ ἐξ ὄντος ἢ ἐκ μὴ ὄντος, ἐκ δὲ τούτων ἀμφοτέρων ἀδύνατον εἶναι· οὔτε γὰρ τὸ ὂν γίνεσθαι (εἶναι γὰρ ἤδη), ἔκ τε μὴ ὄντος οὐδὲν ἂν γενέσθαι· ὑποκεῖσθαι γάρ τι δεῖ. καὶ οὕτω δὴ τὸ ἐφεξῆς συμβαῖνον αὔξοντες οὐδ᾿ εἶναι πολλά φασιν ἀλλὰ μόνον αὐτὸ τὸ ὄν.

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The Logic of Change Physics 1, Chapter 8, 191a23–­b34 [A] The earliest phi­los­o­phers w ­ ere misled in their search for truth and the nature of ­things by their naive outlook, which led them down a blind alley. They claimed that nothing can ­either come to be or cease to be, on the grounds that what comes to be must do so ­either from what is or from what is not. In their view neither of t­ hese is pos­si­ble, since on the one hand what exists cannot come into existence b ­ ecause it already exists, and on the other nothing can come into existence from nothing—­there must be something preexistent. They took the consequence of this to extremes, concluding that a plurality of ­things cannot exist, but only being itself.



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[B] ἐκεῖνοι μὲν οὖν ταύτην ἔλαβον τὴν δόξαν διὰ τὰ εἰρημένα· ἡμεῖς δὲ λέγομεν ὅτι τὸ ἐξ ὄντος ἢ ἐκ μὴ ὄντος γίνεσθαι, ἢ τὸ μὴ ὂν ἢ τὸ ὂν ποιεῖν τι ἢ πάσχειν, ἢ ὁτιοῦν τόδε γίνεσθαι, ἕνα μὲν τρόπον οὐδὲν διαφέρει ἢ τὸ τὸν ἰατρὸν ποιεῖν τι ἢ πάσχειν, ἢ τὸ ἐξ ἰατροῦ εἶναί τι ἢ γίγνεσθαι· ὥστε, ἐπειδὴ τοῦτο διχῶς λέγεται, δῆλον ὅτι καὶ τὸ ἐξ ὄντος καὶ τὸ ὂν ἢ ποιεῖν ἢ πάσχειν.

[C] οἰκοδομεῖ μὲν οὖν ὁ ἰατρὸς οὐχ ᾗ ἰατρὸς ἀλλ᾿ ᾗ οἰκοδόμος, καὶ λευκὸς γίνεται οὐχ ᾗ ἰατρὸς ἀλλ᾿ ᾗ μέλας· ἰατρεύει δὲ καὶ ἀνίατρος γίνεται ᾗ ἰατρός. ἐπεὶ δὲ μάλιστα λέγομεν κυρίως τὸν ἰατρὸν ποιεῖν τι ἢ πάσχειν ἢ γίγνεσθαι ἐξ ἰατροῦ, ἐὰν ᾗ ἰατρὸς ταῦτα πάσχῃ ἢ ποιῇ ἢ γίνηται,

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[B] This was what they argued, and the reason for their conclusions; but I would explain it thus. For something to come from what is or from what is not, or for ­either of the latter to act, be acted on, or become an identifiable t­ hing, is akin to a doctor ­doing something, having something done to him, or being or becoming something from being a doctor. T ­ hese propositions about the doctor can be understood in dif­ fer­ ent ways, just as can the propositions about something “becoming from what is,” and “­doing something or having something done to.” [C] If a doctor builds a ­house, he does so not in his capacity as a doctor, but as a builder. If he becomes gray haired, he does so not in his capacity as a doctor but as someone who was previously dark haired. However, if he administers medicine, or fails to do so correctly, he does this in his capacity as a doctor. It’s appropriate

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δῆλον ὅτι καὶ τὸ ἐκ μὴ ὄντος γίγνεσθαι τοῦτο σημαίνει τὸ ᾗ μὴ ὄν.

[D] ὅπερ ἐκεῖνοι μὲν οὐ διελόντες ἀπέστησαν, καὶ διὰ ταύτην τὴν ἄγνοιαν τοσοῦτον προσηγνόησαν ὥστε μηθὲν οἴεσθαι γίγνεσθαι μηδὲ εἶναι τῶν ἄλλων, ἀλλ᾿ ἀνελεῖν πᾶσαν τὴν γένεσιν.Ἡμεῖς δὲ καὶ αὐτοί φαμεν γίγνεσθαι μὲν οὐδὲν ἁπλῶς ἐκ μὴ ὄντος, πὼς μέντοι γίγνεσθαι ἐκ μὴ ὄντος, οἷον κατὰ συμβεβηκός· ἐκ γὰρ τῆς στερήσεως—­ὅ ἐστι καθ᾿ αὑτὸ μὴ ὄν—­οὐκ ἐνυπάρχοντος γίγνεταί τι· θαυμάζεται δὲ τοῦτο καὶ ἀδύνατον οὕτω δοκεῖ γίγνεσθαί τι ἐκ μὴ ὄντος.

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to say that a doctor does something, or undergoes something, or becomes something from being a doctor, only if it is as a doctor that he does, undergoes, or becomes something e­ lse. It’s clear, then, that we should say the same t­hing about coming to be something from what-­is-­ not, which is to say, that this means from what-­ is-­not in the capacity of what-­is-­not. [D] Failure to make this distinction led thinkers astray, u ­ ntil they came to suppose that nothing comes to be or exists apart from what it is itself; so they ruled out coming-­to-be altogether. While I agree that nothing can be said in an unqualified sense to come from what is not, I say that a ­thing may in a qualified sense come to be from what is not, that is, by happenstance. The reason is that a t­ hing comes to be from a lack of being something. That lack is by nature something that is not, which does not



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[E] ὡσαύτως δὲ οὐδ᾿ ἐξ ὄντος οὐδὲ τὸ ὂν γίγνεσθαι, πλὴν κατὰ συμβεβηκός· οὕτω δὲ καὶ τοῦτο γίγνεσθαι τὸν αὐτὸν  τρόπον οἷον εἰ ἐκ ζῴου ζῷον γίγνοιτο, καὶ ἐκ τινὸς ζῴου τὶ ζῷον (οἷον εἰ κύων ἐξ ἵππου γίγνοιτο). γίγνοιτο μὲν γὰρ ἂν οὐ μόνον ἐκ τινὸς ζῴου ὁ κύων ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐκ ζῴου, ἀλλ᾿ οὐχ ᾗ ζῷον (ὑπάρχει γὰρ ἤδη τοῦτο)· εἰ δέ τι μέλλει γίγνεσθαι ζῷον μὴ κατὰ συμβεβηκός, οὐκ ἐκ ζῴου ἔσται· καὶ εἴ τι ὄν, οὐκ ἐξ ὄντος, οὐδ᾿ ἐκ μὴ ὄντος· τὸ γὰρ ἐκ μὴ ὄντος εἴρηται ἡμῖν τί σημαίνει, ὅτι ᾗ μὴ ὄν. ἔτι δὲ καὶ τὸ εἶναι ἅπαν ἢ μὴ εἶναι οὐκ ἀναιροῦμεν.

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persist in the event of change. This is what puzzles ­people who think it impossible that something should come to be from what is not. [E] In the same way nothing can come from what is and nothing can come to be what is, except by happenstance. That is how something comes to be, as when an animal comes to be from an animal, and an animal of a par­tic­u­lar kind from an animal of a par­tic­u­lar kind—­dog from dog, or ­horse from h ­ orse. A dog would then come to be from an animal as well as from a par­tic­u­lar animal, but as it already has the property of being an animal it does not become an animal. If anything is to become an animal, where being an animal is not just a coincidental property, it ­will not do so from already being an animal. If something is to become something that is, it cannot do so from something that it is already. Nor can it come from what-­ is-­ not, ­because (as I have explained) “from what-­is-­not”

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[F] εἷς μὲν δὴ τρόπος οὗτος, ἄλλος δ᾿ ὅτι ἐνδέχεται ταὐτὰ λέγειν κατὰ τὴν δύναμιν καὶ τὴν ἐνέργειαν· τοῦτο δ᾿ ἐν ἄλλοις διώρισται δι᾿ ἀκριβείας μᾶλλον. [G] ὥσθ᾿ ὅπερ ἐλέγομεν αἱ ἀπορίαι λύονται δι᾿ ἃς ἀναγκαζόμενοι ἀναιροῦσι τῶν εἰρημένων ἔνια· διὰ γὰρ τοῦτο τοσοῦτον καὶ οἱ πρότερον ἐξετράπησαν τῆς ὁδοῦ τῆς ἐπὶ τὴν γένεσιν καὶ φθορὰν καὶ ὅλως μεταβολήν· αὕτη γὰρ ἂν ὀφθεῖσα ἡ φύσις ἔλυσεν αὐτῶν πᾶσαν τὴν ἄγνοιαν.

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means “from something that is not in the capacity of what-­is-­not.” This allows us to preserve the princi­ple that every­thing e­ ither is or is not. [F] This is one way of resolving the prob­lem. Another consists in showing how the same ­things can be spoken of in terms of potentiality and actuality, as I have done in detail elsewhere. [G] So, to conclude, I have now resolved the difficulties that forced ­people to rule out some of the t­ hings I have argued are the case. This was what led some e­ arlier thinkers to misconstrue totally the question of coming to be, ceasing to be, and change generally. If they had grasped the point of this under­lying nature, their misunderstandings would have been dispelled.



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2 The Conditions of Creation The fourth c­ entury BCE saw the greatest contributions to philosophical thought in Western history, the works of Plato and his pupil Aristotle. Aristotle was to reject much of his teacher’s idealistic thought, and to create a logical and empirical approach that has influenced all subsequent thinking. Covering a vast domain of science, ethics, and metaphysics, Aristotelian philosophy dominated study in late antiquity, the early Islamic world, and medieval Eu­rope. But the greatest technical inventor of antiquity lived and worked in the c­ entury ­after Aristotle. He was Archimedes of Syracuse, a Greek from the island of Sicily, and the story of his “Eureka moment” has resonated across the millennia. 18

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The lesson of the Eureka moment is that certain conditions can help to stimulate the spark of innovative thought. Just as ­water is a condition for the flourishing of life, the right conditions are needed for creativity to flourish. ­These conditions may be external or internal, collective or individual, social or personal. History gives abundant examples of creativity flourishing in circumstances where new ideas are socially encouraged and rewarded. Innovations are made when p ­ eople enjoy the freedom and resources to think creatively, when opportunities exist to disseminate ideas with ease and rapidity, and when personal, social, and financial incentives are pre­sent. Such conditions are unevenly distributed in the world t­oday and have only rarely existed in history. But, at vari­ous times and places in the ancient Greek world, the necessary conditions prevailed.



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­People find their own ways of exploiting such conditions to harness their creativity. Inventors are often pictured as single-­minded individuals, whose immersion in their proj­ects leads to creative achievements. But to allow creative connections to emerge successfully, thinkers need to get “into the flow.” One way of d ­ oing so is by stepping back and shifting perspective. Innumerable creators and prob­lem solvers have testified that the path to creative experience has meant first deeply engaging with, and then stepping back from, their object of inquiry. Concentration needs to be offset by diversion to allow new perspectives to emerge and creative ideas to emerge. The story of Archimedes’s Eureka moment offers an illustration of how creating the right conditions may have led to his most memorable intellectual innovation, the formulation of the “Archimedes Princi­ple.”

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Archimedes’s Bath As told by the Roman author Vitruvius in the first c­ entury BCE, the story goes that the ruler of Syracuse, Hieron, had set Archimedes a challenge. Hieron had commissioned the manufacture of a crown of pure gold, but a­ fter receiving it he suspected that the craftsman had purloined some of the gold by adulterating it with another material. Hieron wanted to find out ­whether the crown was made of solid gold but was unsure about how the composition of the finely wrought object could be assessed. In the ancient world, assayers regularly used procedures such as scratching the surface of a metal to reveal a par­tic­u­lar color or sheen, or chiseling bits off to weigh and mea­sure them, but such methods could not be used in this case without damaging the crown.



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It was clear that, had the craftsman mixed in some lighter metal with the gold or left hollows in its structure, the crown would weigh less than if it ­were solid gold. But simply knowing its weight would not give the required answer. Without constructing an identical crown in solid gold, weight alone could not be used to  reveal the crown’s composition. What was needed was to discover its density—­its weight relative to its volume—­and to compare this with the density of pure gold. The question was how one might accurately mea­sure the density of such an object. One eve­n ing, as Archimedes sank into a bath, he observed the way in which the waterline r­ ose as the bulk of his body displaced the ­water, causing ­water to spill over the rim of the tub. The solution struck him: the volume of an object could be mea­sured by mea­sur­ing the amount of w ­ ater it displaced. An object of iden22

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tical weight to his body but made of far denser material, such as a block of pure gold, would displace much less ­water than his body did. If he weighed the crown and compared how much ­water was displaced by the same weight of pure gold, he could show w ­ hether the crown was as dense as the gold. Archimedes leapt from the bath, the story goes, and ran naked through the streets of Syracuse yelling “Eureka,” the Greek for “I’ve got it!” As a result, the term “Eureka moment” has entered the En­glish language to refer to the moment of insight when a solution emerges.

Switch Off, Step Back As told by Vitruvius about two hundred years ­after the event, the Eureka story is memorably dramatic. It was also given a satisfying conclusion: ­after Archimedes’s mea­sure­ments proved that the craftsman had in fact pilfered Hieron’s

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gold, Archimedes was handsomely rewarded, and the miscreant was punished. But the traditional story is open to question. It’s not clear how Archimedes’s solution to the question of how to mea­sure the volume of a crown could have been achieved in practice, or that the princi­ ple of calculating density (as a function of weight and volume) was Archimedes’s discovery. We might imagine, however, that a­ fter struggling to find a solution to a knotty prob­lem, Archimedes went to the baths to relax. At such a juncture, the brain switches into a dif­fer­ent gear. Neurochemical pro­cesses alter, m ­ ental perspectives shift, and solutions fall into place. So it may be that when Archimedes’s solution occurred to him, it had less to do with his observing the way his body displaced w ­ ater in a bathtub than with the fact of his ­going to the bath­house to relax.

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A Floating Palace This experience, well documented for modern inventors and innovators, may be the real lesson of Archimedes’s Eureka moment. Having immersed himself in the prob­lem, Archimedes switched off and was rewarded with a flash of enlightenment. And history provides a neglected clue that the density of a gold crown was not the issue for which he found a solution. The Syracusans ­were famous for having in­ven­ ted a range of military artillery and weaponry, such as the catapult and the ballista (see chapter 3); and from the early fourth ­century BCE on, the city’s successive rulers had also commissioned the construction of some of the largest floating vessels known to the ancient world. Descendants of ­these seagoing vessels, the g­ iant cargo ships used to import grain to the growing population of Rome, have been uncovered

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by marine archaeologists. Two spectacularly lavish vessels recovered from Lake Nemi in 1929 have be identified with the ships described by the historian Suetonius as having been constructed for the Roman emperor Caligula in the first c­ entury CE, “with poops blazing with jewels and multicolored sails, fitted with luxurious baths, galleries, and dining rooms, and supplied with a variety of vines and other fruit trees.” Archimedes was already a maritime inventor who had devised ship-­borne weapons such as a ­giant claw for lifting e­ nemy boats bodily out of the ­water, and an arrangement of mirrors that focused a beam of light that allegedly could set ships on fire. The fact that the Eureka moment might have had something to do with Archime-

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des pondering a question of maritime importance is suggested in the writings of a second-­ century CE author, Athenaeus of Naucratis (in Egypt), who rec­ords Archimedes’s design and construction at the commission of Hieron of a gigantic ship called the Syracusia ­after the name of his city, Syracuse. Fifty times the size of a standard warship, the Syracusia was the largest ship ever constructed in the ancient world. The detailed report by Athenaeus, quoting an unknown writer Moschion, tells us that it was built to carry a cargo of up to eigh­teen hundred tons, and could accommodate over a thousand on board. The uppermost deck held eight watchtowers manned by soldiers, and on the ship’s bow was a raised



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platform with a massive catapult capable of propelling 180-­pound rocks. It had a promenade lined with flowers, a library, a gymnasium, and a ­temple to the goddess Aphrodite. It was so vast that the Egyptian harbor of Alexandria was the only port large enough to receive it. Archimedes needed to answer the obvious question regarding this prodigious vessel: w ­ ill it float? He had to prove to himself, if not to Hieron, that a ship of such enormous proportions, complex construction, and unpre­ ce­ dented weight was not g­ oing to sink. It seems likely that what struck Archimedes as he relaxed in the baths was a princi­ple of ­great prac-

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tical value, still essential for mechanical engineers ­ today: the princi­ ple of buoyancy that states that an immersed object is buoyed up by a force equal to the weight of the fluid it displaces. If the object’s overall weight is greater than that force, it ­will sink; if not, it ­will float. This equation explains why a steel supertanker floats no less surely than a rowboat. It is hard not to see a connection between the report of the building of the Syracusia and Archimedes’s Eureka moment: the law of buoyancy, so crucial for shipbuilding, is still known as the Archimedes Princi­ple.



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[A] [206d5–8] περὶ δὲ τῆς ὑπὸ Ἱέρωνος τοῦ Συρακοσίου κατασκευασθείσης νεώς, ἧς καὶ Ἀρχιμήδης ἦν ὁ γεωμέτρης ἐπόπτης, οὐκ ἄξιον εἶναι κρίνω σιωπῆσαι, σύγγραμμα ἐκδόντος Μοσχίωνός τινος, ᾧ οὐ παρέργως ἐνέτυχον ὑπογυίως. γράφει οὖν ὁ Μοσχίων οὕτως· [B] [206e6] Ἱέρων δὲ ὁ Συρακοσίων βασιλεύς, ὁ πάντα Ῥωμαίοις φίλος, ἐσπουδάκει μὲν καὶ περὶ ἱερῶν καὶ γυμνασίων κατασκευάς, ἦν δὲ καὶ περὶ ναυπηγίας  φιλότιμος πλοῖα σιτηγὰ κατασκευαζόμενος, ὧν ἑνὸς τῆς κατασκευῆς μνησθήσομαι. [C] εἰς ὕλην μὲν ξύλωσιν ἐκ τῆς Αἴτνης παρεσκεύαστο

ἑξήκοντα

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The Eureka Imperative Athenaeus Book 5, 206d5–209e2 [A] The construction of the ship built by Hieron of Syracuse, overseen by the mathematician Archimedes, is worthy of commemoration. Moschion has published a book on it, which I recently read with care. Moschion writes as follows: [B] Hieron, the king of Syracuse, who was always a friend to Rome, not only engaged in the construction of t­emples and gymnasia but was keen to be known as a shipbuilder, with the construction of massive transport ships. H ­ ere I describe the construction of one of t­ hese. [C] The material for its construction was wood procured from Etna, in sufficient quantity for the building of sixty quadriremes.

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ἡτοιμάσατο γόμφους τε καὶ ἐγκοίλια καὶ σταμῖνας καὶ τὴν εἰς τὴν ἄλλην χρείαν ὕλην τὴν μὲν ἐξ Ἰταλίας, τὴν δ᾿ ἐκ Σικελίας, εἰς δὲ σχοινία λευκέαν μὲν ἐξ Ἰβηρίας, κάνναβιν δὲ καὶ πίτταν ἐκ τοῦ Ῥοδανοῦ ποταμοῦ καὶ τἄλλα πάντα τὰ χρειώδη πολλαχόθεν. συνήγαγε δὲ καὶ ναυπηγοὺς καὶ τοὺς ἄλλους τεχνίτας καὶ καταστήσας ἐκ πάντων Ἀρχίαν τὸν Κορίνθιον ἀρχιτέκτονα παρεκάλεσε προθύμως ἐπιλαβέσθαι τῆς κατασκευῆς, προσκαρτερῶν καὶ αὐτὸς τὰς ἡμέρας. [D] τὸ μὲν οὖν ἥμισυ τοῦ παντὸς τῆς νεὼς ἐν μησὶν ἓξ ἐξειργάσατο, καὶ ταῖς ἐκ μολίβου ποιηθείσαις κεραμίσιν ἀεὶ καθ᾿ ὃ ναυπηγηθείη μέρος περιελαμβάνετο, ὡς ἂν τριακοσίων ὄντων τῶν τὴν ὕλην ἐργαζομένων τεχνιτῶν χωρὶς τῶν ὑπηρετούντων. τοῦτο μὲν οὖν τὸ μέρος εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν καθέλκειν προσετέτακτο, τὴν λοιπὴν κατασκευὴν ἵν᾿ ἐκεῖ λαμβάνῃ. ὡς δὲ περὶ τὸν καθελκυσμὸν αὐτοῦ τὸν εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν πολλὴ 32

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Hieron arranged for wooden pegs, belly timbers, rib timbers, and what­ever material was needed for other uses to come partly from Italy and partly from Sicily. He procured esparto from Spain for cables, hemp and pitch from the Rhone valley, and other necessary materials from many dif­fer­ent places. He recruited shipwrights and other craftsmen and appointed the Corinthian Archias as foreman, commanding him to set about the construction with dispatch, and spending his own days on the proj­ect. [D] Half the ship was completed in six months, and as each section was built it was sheathed with lead. About three hundred craftsmen worked on the materials, not counting their assistants. This part of the ship was ordered to be pulled down to the sea so that the rest of the work could be done t­here. A ­ fter lengthy discussions about how to pull it down to the w ­ ater, Archimedes the engineer arranged

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ζήτησις ἦν, Ἀρχιμήδης ὁ μηχανικὸς μόνος αὐτὸ κατήγαγε δι᾿ ὀλίγων σωμάτων· κατασκευάσας γὰρ ἕλικα τὸ τηλικοῦτον σκάφος εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν κατήγαγε. πρῶτος δ᾿ Ἀρχιμήδης εὗρε τὴν τῆς ἕλικος κατασκευήν. [E] ὡς δὲ καὶ τὰ λοιπὰ λοιπὰ μέρη τῆς νεὼς ἐν ἄλλοις ἓξ μησὶ κατεσκευάσθη καὶ τοῖς χαλκοῖς ἥλοις πᾶσα περιελήφθη, ὧν οἱ πολλοὶ δεκάμνοοι ἦσαν, οἱ δ᾿ ἄλλοι τούτων ἡμιόλιοι. διὰ τρυπάνων δ᾿ ἦσαν οὗτοι ἡρμοσμένοι τοὺς σταμῖνας συνέχοντες· μολυβδίναις δὲ κεραμίσιν ἐπεστεγνοῦντο πρὸς τὸ ξύλον, ὑποτιθεμένων ὀθονίων μετὰ πίττης. [F] ὡς οὖν τὴν ἐκτὸς ἐπιφάνειαν ἐξειργάσατο, τὴν ἐντὸς διασκευὴν ἐξεπονεῖτο. ἦν δὲ ἡ ναῦς τῇ μὲν κατασκευῇ εἰκόσορος, τριπάροδος δέ· τὴν μὲν κατωτάτω ἐπὶ τὸν γόμον, ἐφ᾿ ἣν διὰ κλιμάκων πυκνῶν ἡ κατάβασις ἐγίνετο· ἡ δ᾿ ἑτέρα τοῖς εἰς τὰς διαίτας βουλομένοις εἰσιέναι ἐμεμηχάνητο· μεθ᾿ ἣν ἡ τελευταία τοῖς ἐπὶ τοῖς ὅπλοις 34

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to do so, using a few laborers for the task. It was only by constructing a screw windlass, which was an invention of Archimedes, that it was pos­si­ble to move a hull of such enormous size down to the sea. [E] The remainder of the ship was completed in another six months. It was secured by bronze rivets, mostly ten pounds in weight, with ­others weighing fifteen pounds, which w ­ ere set in their place with the use of augers, to fasten the ribs together. The rivets ­ were covered by lead sheathing fastened to the timber hull, padded by strips of linen covered with pitch. [F] When the ship’s exterior was complete, Archimedes started work on the interior. The ship was constructed to hold twenty banks of rowers and had three decks. The lowest deck consisted of a cargo area, which was reached by a long flight of shallow steps. The central deck was for the crew’s quarters. The uppermost

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τεταγμένοις. ἦσαν δὲ τῆς μέσης παρόδου παρ᾿ ἑκάτερον τῶν τοίχων δίαιται τετράκλινοι τοῖς ἀνδράσι, τριάκοντα τὸ πλῆθος. ἡ δὲ ναυκληρικὴ δίαιτα κλινῶν μὲν ἦν πεντεκαίδεκα, θαλάμους δὲ τρεῖς εἶχε τρικλίνους, ὧν ἦν τὸ κατὰ τὴν πρύμναν ὀπτανεῖον. [G] ταῦτα δὲ πάντα δάπεδον εἶχεν ἐν ἀβακίσκοις συγκείμενον ἐκ παντοίων λίθων, ἐν οἷς ἦν κατεσκευασμένος πᾶς ὁ περὶ τὴν Ἰλιάδα μῦθος θαυμασίως· ταῖς τε κατασκευαῖς καὶ ταῖς ὀροφαῖς, καὶ θυρώμασι δὲ πάντα ἦν ταῦτα πεπονημένα. κατὰ δὲ τὴν ἀνωτάτω πάροδον γυμνάσιον ἦν καὶ περίπατοι σύμμετρον ἔχοντες τὴν κατασκευὴν τῷ τοῦ πλοίου μεγέθει, ἐν οἷς κῆποι παντοῖοι ­θαυμασίως ἦσαν ὑπερβάλλοντες ταῖς φυτείαις, διὰ κεραμίδων μολυβδινῶν κατεστεγνωμένων ἀρδευόμενοι, ἔτι δὲ σκηναὶ κιττοῦ λευκοῦ καὶ ἀμπέλων, ὧν αἱ ῥίζαι τὴν τροφὴν ἐν πίθοις εἶχον γῆς πεπληρωμένοις, τὴν αὐτὴν ἄρδευσιν 36

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deck was for the use of armed guards. Around the central deck ­were thirty cabins, each eight square meters in area, ranged around both sides of the ship. The captain’s quarters ­were eigh­teen square meters in area, consisting of three cabins each of six square meters. A cabin was constructed ­toward the stern for the kitchen galley. [G] All ­these cabins had a mosaic floors made from a variety of stones, arranged to amazing effect to depict the w ­ hole story of the Iliad, and the furniture, ceilings, and doors w ­ ere also elaborately worked. The uppermost deck contained a gymnasium, and boardwalks in proportion to the size of the ship, in which ­were planted colorful flowerbeds brimming with flowers, which ­were watered by concealed lead piping. ­T here ­were screens of ivy and grapevines, the roots of which ­ were nourished by barrels filled with earth, and which ­were watered in the same way as the flowerbeds.

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λαμβάνουσαι καθάπερ καὶ οἱ κῆποι. αὗται δὲ αἱ σκηναὶ συνεσκίαζον τοὺς περιπάτους. [H] ἑξῆς δὲ τούτων Ἀφροδίσιον κατεσκεύαστο τρίκλινον, δάπεδον ἔχον ἐκ λίθων ἀχατῶν τε καὶ ἄλλων χαριεστάτων ὅσοι κατὰ τὴν νῆσον ἦσαν· τοὺς τοίχους δ᾿ εἶχε καὶ τὴν ὀροφὴν κυπαρίττου, τὰς δὲ θύρας ἐλέφαντος καὶ θύου· γραφαῖς δὲ καὶ ἀγάλμασιν, ἔτι δὲ ποτηρίων κατασκευαῖς ὑπερβαλλόντως κατεσκεύαστο. [I] τούτου δ᾿ ἐφεξῆς σχολαστήριον ὑπῆρχε πεντάκλινον, ἐκ πύξου τοὺς τοίχους καὶ τὰ θυρώματα κατεσκευασμένον, βιβλιοθήκην ἔχον ἐν αὑτῷ, κατὰ δὲ τὴν ὀροφὴν πόλον ἐκ τοῦ κατὰ τὴν Ἀχραδίνην ἀπομεμιμημένον ἡλιοτροπίου. ἦν δὲ καὶ βαλανεῖον τρίκλινον πυρίας χαλκᾶς ἔχον τρεῖς καὶ λουτῆρα πέντε μετρητὰς δεχόμενον ποικίλον τοῦ Ταυρομενίτου λίθου. κατεσκεύαστο δὲ καὶ οἰκήματα πλείω τοῖς ἐπιβάταις καὶ τοῖς τὰς ἀντλίας φυλάττουσι.

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These screens ­were used to give shade to the boardwalks. [H] Adjoining ­these was a six-­square-­meter ­temple to Aphrodite, with a floor made of agate and other precious stones from Sicily. Its walls and ceiling ­were made from cypress wood, and its doors of ivory and cedar. It was sumptuously furnished with paintings, statues, and drinking vessels of all kinds. [I] Adjoining the ­temple to Aphrodite was a ten-­square-­meter library with walls and doors made of boxwood, containing a collection of books. On its ceiling was a concave sundial constructed on the model of the sundial in Achradina. There was also a six-­square-­meter bathroom containing three bronze bathtubs and a fifty-­gallon washstand made of variegated Tauromenian marble. ­T here ­were also rooms for the marines and for the crew that manned the bilge pumps.

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[J] χωρὶς δὲ τούτων ἱππῶνες ἦσαν ἑκατέρου τῶν τοίχων δέκα· κατὰ δὲ τούτους ἡ τροφὴ τοῖς ἵπποις ἔκειτο καὶ τῶν ἀναβατῶν καὶ τῶν παίδων τὰ σκεύη. ἦν δὲ καὶ ὑδροθήκη κατὰ τὴν πρῷραν κλειστή, δισχιλίους μετρητὰς δεχομένη, ἐκ σανίδων καὶ πίττης καὶ ὀθονίων κατεσκευασμένη. παρὰ δὲ ταύτην κατεσκεύαστο διὰ μολιβδώματος καὶ σανίδων κλειστὸν ἰχθυοτροφεῖον· τοῦτο δ᾿ ἦν πλῆρες θαλάττης, ἐν ᾧ πολλοὶ ἰχθύες ἐνετρέφοντο. [K] ὑπῆρχον δὲ καὶ τῶν τοίχων ἑκατέρωθεν τρόποι προεωσμένοι, διάστημα σύμμετρον ἔχοντες· ἐφ᾿ ὧν κατεσκευασμέναι ἦσαν ξυλοθῆκαι καὶ κρίβανοι καὶ ὀπτανεῖα καὶ μύλοι καὶ πλείους ἕτεραι διακονίαι. ἄτλαντές τε περιέτρεχον τὴν ναῦν ἐκτὸς ἑξαπήχεις, οἳ τοὺς ὄγκους ὑπειλήφεσαν τοὺς ἀνωτάτω καὶ τὸ τρίγλυφον, πάντες ἐν διαστήματι συμμέτρῳ βεβῶτες. ἡ δὲ ναῦς πᾶσα οἰκείαις γραφαῖς ἐπεπόνητο.

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[J] In addition to ­these rooms, on each side of the ship ­there ­were ten stalls for ­horses. Adjoining them was the store for fodder and for the equipment used by the riders and grooms. ­T here was also a covered twenty-­thousand-­ gallon ­water tank near the prow made from planks of wood caulked with pitch and linen. Next to it was a covered fish tank made from lead and wooden planks, filled with seawater and stocked with fish. [K] On both sides of the ship ­there ­were beams projecting at regular intervals holding containers with wood, ovens, roasting spits, hand mills, and vari­ous other appliances. Around the ship ran a row of Atlas statues three meters high, spaced at intervals to support the roof and upper decks. The w ­ hole ship was decorated with bespoke paintings.



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[L] πύργοι τε ἦσαν ἐν αὐτῇ ὀκτὼ σύμμετροι τὸ μέγεθος τοῖς τῆς νεὼς ὄγκοις· δύο μὲν κατὰ πρύμναν, οἱ δ᾿ ἴσοι κατὰ πρῷραν, οἱ λοιποὶ δὲ κατὰ μέσην ναῦν. τούτων δὲ ἑκάστῳ παρεδέδεντο κεραῖαι δύο, ἐφ᾿ ὧν κατεσκεύαστο φατνώματα, δι᾿ ὧν ἠφίεντο λίθοι πρὸς τοὺς ὑποπλέοντας τῶν πολεμίων. ἐπὶ δὲ τῶν πύργων ἕκαστον ἀνέβαινον τέτταρες μὲν καθωπλισμένοι νεανίσκοι, δύο δὲ τοξόται. πᾶν δὲ τὸ ἐντὸς τῶν πύργων λίθων καὶ βελῶν πλῆρες ἦν. [M] τεῖχος δὲ ἐπάλξεις ἔχον καὶ καταστρώματα διὰ νεὼς ἐπὶ κιλλιβάντων κατεσκεύαστο· ἐφ᾿ οὗ λιθοβόλος ἐφειστήκει, τριτάλαντον λίθον ἀφ᾿ αὑτοῦ ἀφιεὶς καὶ δωδεκάπηχυ βέλος. τοῦτο δὲ τὸ μηχάνημα κατεσκεύασεν Ἀρχιμήδης. ἑκάτερον δὲ τῶν βελῶν ἔβαλλεν ἐπὶ στάδιον. μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα παραρτήματα ἐκ τροπῶν παχέων συγκείμενα διὰ ἁλύσεων χαλκῶν κρεμάμενα.

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[L] ­There ­were eight watchtowers symmetrically arranged around the deck, two at the stern, two at the bow, and four amidship. Each had two booms attached to them, on which ­were fitted crates from which boulders could be dropped at ­enemy vessels sailing beneath. The watchtowers ­were each manned by four men in full armor and two archers, and w ­ ere stocked with missiles. [M] Along the length of the ship ran a wall with battlements and a decking supported on trestles, on which stood a ballista devised by Archimedes that could fire a 180-­pound boulder or an eighteen-­foot missile to a distance of six hundred feet. In front of this ­were hung leather drapes suspended by bronze chains.



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[N] τριῶν δὲ ἱστῶν ὑπαρχόντων ἐξ ἑκάστου κεραῖαι λιθοφόροι ἐξήρτηντο δύο, ἐξ ὧν ἅρπαγές τε καὶ πλίνθοι μολίβου πρὸς τοὺς ἐπιτιθεμένους ἠφίεντο. ἦν δὲ καὶ χάραξ κύκλῳ τῆς νεὼς σιδηροῦς πρὸς τοὺς ἐπιχειροῦντας ἀναβαίνειν κόρακές τε σιδηροῖ, οἳ δι᾿ ὀργάνων ἀφιέμενοι τὰ τῶν ἐναντίων ἐκράτουν σκάφη καὶ παρέβαλλον εἰς πληγήν. [O] ἑκατέρῳ δὲ τῶν τοίχων ἑξήκοντα νεανίσκοι πανοπλίας ἔχοντες ἐφειστήκεσαν καὶ τούτοις ἴσοι περί τε τοὺς ἱστοὺς καὶ τὰς λιθοφόρους κεραίας. ἦσαν δὲ καὶ κατὰ τοὺς ἱστοὺς ἐν τοῖς καρχησίοις οὖσι χαλκοῖς ἐπὶ μὲν τοῦ πρώτου τρεῖς ἄνδρες, εἶθ᾿ ἑξῆς καθ᾿ ἕνα λειπόμενοι· τούτοις δ᾿ ἐν πλεκτοῖς γυργάθοις διὰ τροχιλίων εἰς τὰ θωράκια λίθοι παρεβάλλοντο καὶ βέλη διὰ τῶν παίδων. ἄγκυραι δὲ ἦσαν ξύλιναι μὲν τέτταρες, σιδηραῖ δ᾿ ὀκτώ. τῶν δὲ ἱστῶν ὁ μὲν δεύτερος καὶ τρίτος εὑρέθησαν, δυσχερῶς 44

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[N] The ship had three masts, each of which had two booms from which grappling hooks could be lowered and lumps of lead dropped onto attackers. An iron palisade encircled the ship to protect against any attempts at boarding. Around the top deck iron hooks w ­ ere stowed, which could be fired from catapults to grasp the hulls of e­ nemy vessels and pull them alongside so as to expose them to attack. [O] Sixty soldiers in armor ­were stationed on each side of the ship, and sixty ­others manned the masts and the booms that held the boulders. Guards ­were also stationed on the bronze mast tops, three on the foremast, two by the mainmast, and one on the mizzenmast. Slaves used pulleys to haul stones and missiles up to the crow’s nests in wicker baskets. T ­ here ­were four anchors of wood and eight of iron. The timber for the mainmast and mizzenmast was easily procured, but the tree used for the foremast was

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δὲ ὁ πρῶτος εὑρέθη ἐν τοῖς ὄρεσι τῆς Βρεττίας ὑπὸ συβώτου ἀνδρός· κατήγαγε δ᾿αὐτὸν ἐπὶ θάλατταν Φιλέας ὁ Ταυρομενίτης μηχανικός. ἡ δὲ ἀντλία καίπερ βάθος ὑπερβάλλον ἔχουσα δι᾿ ἑνὸς ἀνδρὸς ἐξηντλεῖτο διὰ κοχλίου, Ἀρχιμήδους ἐξευρόντος. [P] ὄνομα δ᾿ ἦν τῇ νηὶ Συρακοσία· ὅτε δ᾿ αὐτὴν ἐξέπεμπεν Ἱέρων, Ἀλεξανδρίδα αὐτὴν μετωνόμασεν. ἐφόλκια δ᾿ ἦσαν αὐτῇ τὸ μὲν πρῶτον κέρκουρος τρισχίλια τάλαντα δέχεσθαι δυνάμενος· πᾶς δ᾿ ἦν οὗτος ἐπίκωπος. μεθ᾿ ὃν χίλια πεντακόσια βαστάζουσαι ἁλιάδες τε καὶ σκάφαι πλείους. ὄχλος δ᾿ ἦν οὐκ ἐλάττων [ὀκτακοσίων], μετὰ τοὺς προειρημένους ἄλλοι τε ἑξακόσιοι παρὰ τὴν πρῷραν ἐπιτηροῦντες τὰ παραγγελλόμενα. τῶν δὲ κατὰ ναῦν ἀδικημάτων δικαστήριον καθειστήκει ναύκληρος, κυβερνήτης, καὶ πρῳρεύς, οἵπερ ἐδίκαζον κατὰ τοὺς Συρακοσίων νόμους. [Q] σίτου δὲ ἐνεβάλλοντο εἰς τὴν ναῦν μυριάδας ἕξ, ταρίχων δὲ Σικελικῶν κεράμια μύρια, 46

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located only with difficulty in the mountains of Bruttium by a swineherd, and transported down to the sea by the engineer Phileas of Tauromenium. Although the bilge was very deep, it could easily be pumped out by one man using the ­water screw—­another invention of Archimedes. [P] The ship was named Syracusia, but when Hieron dispatched it as a gift he changed the name to Alexandris. It was accompanied by a flotilla of boats: an eighty-­ton cargo galley propelled by oars, some forty-­ton fishing boats, and a number of smaller vessels. The crew numbered no less than eight hundred: in addition to t­hose mentioned, six hundred marines w ­ ere posted and ready at the prow. For any crimes committed on board, a court composed of the captain, the navigator, and the officer at the bow dispensed judgment in accordance with the laws of Syracuse. [Q] On board ­were loaded ninety thousand bushels of grain, ten thousand jars of Sicilian

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ἐρίων τάλαντα δισμύρια, καὶ ἕτερα δὲ φορτία δισμύρια· χωρὶς δὲ τούτων ὁ ἐπισιτισμὸς ἦν τῶν ἐμπλεόντων. ὁ δ᾿ Ἱέρων ἐπεὶ πάντας τοὺς λιμένας ἤκουεν τοὺς μὲν ὡς οὐ  bδύνατοί εἰσι τὴν ναῦν δέχεσθαι, τοὺς δὲ καὶ ἐπικινδύνους ὑπάρχειν, διέγνω δῶρον αὐτὴν ἀποστεῖλαι Πτολεμαίῳ τῷ βασιλεῖ εἰς Ἀλεξάνδρειαν· καὶ γὰρ ἦν σπάνις σίτου κατὰ τὴν Αἴγυπτον. καὶ οὕτως ἐποίησε, καὶ ἡ ναῦς κατήχθη εἰς τὴν Ἀλεξάνδρειαν, ἔνθα καὶ ἐνεωλκήθη. [R] ὁ δ᾿ Ἱέρων καὶ Ἀρχίμηλον τὸν τῶν ἐπιγραμμάτων ποιητὴν γράψαντα εἰς τὴν ναῦν ἐπίγραμμα χιλίοις πυρῶν μεδίμνοις, οὓς καὶ παρέπεμψεν ἰδίοις δαπανήμασιν εἰς τὸν Πειραιᾶ, ἐτίμησεν. ἔχει δ᾿ οὕτως τὸ ἐπίγραμμα·

τίς τόδε σέλμα πέλωρον ἐπὶ χθονὸς εἵσατο; ποῖος κοίρανος ἀκαμάτοις πείσμασιν ἠγάγετο;

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saltfish, six hundred tons of wool, and six hundred tons of other cargo, in addition to provisions stowed for the crew. When Hieron learned that existing harbors w ­ ere ­either insufficiently large or too dangerous to receive the ship to port, he settled on sending it as a gift to King Ptolemy at Alexandria, as t­ here happened to be a grain shortage in Egypt. This he did, and the ship sailed to Alexandria, where it was hauled into port. [R] The poet Archimelus composed an epigram celebrating the vessel, and Hieron rewarded him with fifteen hundred bushels of wheat, which Archimelus had shipped at his own expense to the Peiraeus. The epigram runs as follows: Who set t­ hese ­giant timbers on the ground, what master hauled them with untiring ropes?



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πῶς δὲ κατὰ δρυόχων ἐπάγη σανίς, ἢ τίνι γόμφοι τμηθέντες πελέκει τοῦτ᾿ ἔκαμον τὸ κύτος, ἢ κορυφαῖς Αἴτνας παρισούμενον ἤ τινι νάσων ἃς Αἰγαῖον ὕδωρ Κυκλάδας ἐνδέδεται, τοίχοις ἀμφοτέρωθεν ἰσοπλατές; ἦ ῥα Γίγαντες τοῦτο πρὸς οὐρανίας ἔξεσαν ἀτραπιτούς· ἄστρων γὰρ ψαύει καρχήσια καὶ τριελίκτους θώρακας μεγάλων ἐντὸς ἔχει νεφέων. πείσμασι δ᾿ ἀγκύρας ἀπερείδεται οἷσιν Ἀβύδου Ξέρξης καὶ Σηστοῦ δισσὸν ἔδησε πόρον. μανύει στιβαρᾶς κατ᾿ ἐπωμίδος ἀρτιχάρακτον γράμμα, τίς ἐκ χέρσου τάνδ᾿ ἐκύλισε τρόπιν· φατὶ γὰρ ὡς Ἱέρων Ἱεροκλέος Ἑλλάδι πάσᾳ καὶ νάσοις καρπὸν πίονα δωροφορῶν, Σικελίας σκαπτοῦχος ὁ Δωρικός. ἀλλά, Πόσειδον, σῷζε διὰ γλαυκῶν σέλμα τόδε ῥοθίων. 50

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How ­were ­these decks affixed to oaken ribs, what axes hewed the rivets for its hull? It looms like Etna’s peaks, or like an isle girt by th’ Aegean in the Cyclades, with walls of equal breadth on ­either side, for ­giants, surely, to traverse the skies! Its mastheads touch the stars and raise aloft its threefold ramparts to the clouds on high, Its anchor ropes are such as Xerxes used to bind Abydos ­o’er to Sestos’s shore. ­These letters freshly painted on its prow declare who launched this keel from land to sea, proclaiming Hieron, son of Hierocles, the Dorian wielder of Sicilian power, who brings rich grain to Hellas and the isles. Through gray-­flecked waves, Poseidon, guide her safe.



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3 The Princi­ple of Disruption “Expect the unexpected or you w ­ ill not achieve it” is one of the cryptic comments preserved from the phi­los­o­pher Heraclitus (early fifth ­century BCE). It makes sense in the context of innovation: if one wants to do something new, one has to be prepared to do the unexpected— in other words, to be a contrarian. The billionaire investor Warren Buffett has articulated this as follows: “A ­simple rule dictates my buying: Be fearful when o ­ thers are greedy, and be greedy when ­others are fearful.” In creating change, t­ here is value in thinking and acting in a way that does not follow the common trend, but opposes it.

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Allied to this kind of contrarian thinking is “disruptive innovation,” whereby an improvement in a product or ser­v ice is unexpected or unfamiliar but succeeds in superseding the traditional market. Henry Ford, inventor of the Model T Ford, famously declared, “I w ­ ill build a car for the g­ reat multitude. It w ­ ill be large enough for the f­ amily, but small enough for the individual to run and care for. It w ­ ill be constructed of the best materials, by the best men to be hired, a­ fter the simplest designs that modern engineering can devise. But it ­will be so low in price that no man making a good salary ­will be unable to own one—­and enjoy with his ­family the blessing of hours of plea­sure in God’s ­great open spaces.” By organ­izing the mass production what had thitherto been a luxury item, Ford changed cars so completely that they rendered other forms of road transport obsolete.



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Turning the Tide of B ­ attle One of the most successful innovations in ancient Greek military history involved a disruptive strategy. From the accounts of ancient historians Xenophon, Plutarch, and Diodorus of Sicily (text below), we can piece together an account of the innovation that led to the Boeotian victory at Leuctra in 371 BCE u ­ nder the command of the Theban general Epaminondas. For centuries, Greek b ­ attles had been fought in almost identical fashion, with armies drawn up to face each other across a level plain. They advanced to the attack ­either when one side or other felt the time to be favorable, or when one side had had enough of standing around and waiting. Religious rituals and conventional forms of prayer and devotion before b ­ attle w ­ ere heavi­ly relied on to increase morale and ensure

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success. It was an unshakeable princi­ple that the strongest fighters, the most highly respected troops, should be accorded the place of honor in the b ­ attle formation, which meant that they ­were disposed without fail on the right flank. For centuries the Spartans had fielded the most highly trained warriors in Greece. They assumed that their power­ful right flank would always break through the ­enemy lines. Once this was done, they would put in train a standard follow-up maneuver, wheeling around into their opponents’ lines and attacking them side on. At Leuctra, the Boeotian allies led by Thebes w ­ ere outnumbered by several thousand more Spartan infantry and cavalry. The Theban commander Epaminondas thinned the line even further, in order to mass his troops on the left flank at a hitherto unheard of depth



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of fifty ranks, headed up by the best-­trained fighters, the Sacred Band of three hundred elite soldiers. This led to an unexpected course of ­battle from the Spartan point of view. Their strongest fighters, t­ hose on their right flank ­under their king Cleombrotus, met irresistible opposition from the Thebans’ heavi­ly reinforced left flank headed by the Sacred Band. Meanwhile, the Spartans on the left of their army found that the ­enemy in front of them, instead of putting up a fight, melted away as they attacked. Rather than ordering his right flank to fight, Epaminondas’s strategy was that they should give ground to the Spartan left wing. The result of the tactic was twofold. On the Spartan’s strongest side, the unexpected force of

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re­sis­tance was baffling. As the heavi­ly reinforced Thebans made headway on that flank, the Spartans in front of them ­were forced to retreat, with many dead. Meanwhile, on the other flank, the Spartans ­were finding their advance surprisingly easy ­because their opponents ­were yielding ground. But this meant that when the Thebans had secured the field on their left, they could attack the advancing Spartan soldiers from b ­ ehind. The outcome of the b ­ attle was a victory for Thebes over considerably greater forces, which made them the leaders of Greece for a de­cade ­until the death of Epaminondas in a second ­battle. Epaminondas’s strategy at the ­Battle of Leuctra has been held up as a classic model of creating change through contrarian tactics.



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[1] καὶ παρὰ μὲν τοῖς Λακεδαιμονίοις οἱ ἀφ᾿ Ἡρακλέους γεγονότες ἡγεμόνες ἐτάχθησαν ἐπὶ τῶν κεράτων, Κλεόμβροτός τε ὁ βασιλεὺς καὶ Ἀρχίδαμος ὁ Ἀγησιλάου τοῦ βασιλέως υἱός, παρὰ δὲ τοῖς Βοιωτοῖς Ἐπαμεινώνδας ἰδίᾳ τινὶ καὶ περιττῇ τάξει χρησάμενος διὰ τῆς ἰδίας στρατηγίας περιεποιήσατο τὴν περιβόητον νίκην. [2] ἐκλεξάμενος γὰρ ἐξ ἁπάσης τῆς δυνάμεως τοὺς ἀρίστους ἐπὶ τὸ ἕτερον μέρος ἔστησε, μεθ᾿ ὧν καὶ αὐτὸς ἔμελλε διαγωνίζεσθαι· τοὺς δ᾿ ἀσθενεστάτους ἐπὶ τὸ ἕτερον κέρας τάξας παρήγγειλεν αὐτοῖς φυγομαχεῖν καὶ κατὰ τὴν ἔφοδον τῶν πολεμίων ἐκ τοῦ κατ᾿ ὀλίγον ὑποχωρεῖν. διὸ καὶ λοξὴν ποιήσας τὴν φάλαγγα, τῷ

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A Winning Strategy Diodorus, Library 15.55–56.4 15.55

[1] On the Spartan side the Heraclid kings Cleombrotus and Archidamus son of Agesilaus ­were stationed as commanders of the wings. On the Theban side Epaminondas, by employing an unusual disposition of his own devising, managed through a unique strategy to achieve his famous victory. [2] From the w ­ hole force he selected the strongest men and stationed them on one wing, intending to fight to the end alongside them. The weakest he placed on the other wing and instructed them to avoid engaging and to withdraw bit by bit as the e­ nemy advanced. By arranging his phalanx in oblique formation,



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τοὺς ἐπιλέκτους ἔχοντι κέρατι ἔγνω κρίνειν τὴν μάχην. [3] ὡς δ᾿ αἵ τε σάλπιγγες ἐσήμαινον παρ᾿ ἀμφοτέροις τὸ πολεμικὸν καὶ κατὰ τὴν πρώτην ὁρμὴν συνηλάλαξαν αἱ δυνάμεις, οἱ μὲν Λακεδαιμόνιοι τοῖς κέρασιν ἀμφοτέροις ἐπῆγον μηνοειδὲς τὸ σχῆμα τῆς φάλαγγος πεποιηκότες, οἱ δὲ Βοιωτοὶ τῷ μὲν ἑτέρῳ κέρατι ὑπεχώρουν, τῷ δὲ ἑτέρῳ δρόμῳ συνῆπτον τοῖς πολεμίοις. [4] ὡς δὲ συνῆψαν ἀλλήλοις εἰς χεῖρας, τὸ μὲν πρῶτον ἐκθύμως ἀμφοτέρων ἀγωνιζομένων ἰσόρροπος ἦν ἡ μάχη, μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα τῶν περὶ τὸν Ἐπαμεινώνδαν διά τε τὴν ἀρετὴν καὶ τὴν πυκνότητα τῆς τάξεως πλεονεκτούντων πολλοὶ τῶν Πελοποννησίων ἀνῃροῦντο. οὐ γὰρ ὑπέμενον ὑπενέγκαι τὸ βάρος τῆς τῶν ἐπιλέκτων ἀνδραγαθίας, ἀλλὰ τῶν ἀντιστάντων οἱ μὲν ἔπιπτον, οἱ δὲ κατετραυματίζοντο, πάσας τὰς πληγὰς ἐναντίας λαμβάνοντες.

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therefore, he planned so that the b ­ attle should be de­cided by the elite fighting wing. [3] When the trumpets on both sides sounded and the armies raised the b ­ attle cry with their first charge, the Spartans attacked on both wings with their phalanx in crescent formation. The Thebans fell back on one wing, while on the other they engaged the ­enemy forces with a ­r unning charge. [4] As they clashed hand to hand, at first both sides fought vigorously, and the b ­ attle was evenly poised. Soon, however, Epaminondas’s troops began to get the upper hand as a result of their strength and their densely reinforced column, and the Peloponnesians began to fall in ­great numbers. They ­were unable to withstand the weight of the intrepid elite corps, some of whom fell fighting while o ­ thers sustained frontal wounds since at no point did they turn and run.

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[5] ἕως μὲν οὖν ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν Λακεδαιμονίων Κλεόμβροτος ἔζη, πολλοὺς ἔχων τοὺς συνασπίζοντας καὶ προθύμως πρὸ αὐτοῦ ἀποθνήσκοντας, ἄδηλος ἦν ἡ ῥοπὴ τῆς νίκης· ἐπεὶ δ᾿ οὗτος πάντα κίνδυνον ὑπομένων οὐκ ἠδύνατο βιάσασθαι τοὺς ἀνθεστηκότας, ἡρωικῶς δὲ μαχόμενος καὶ πολλοῖς τραύμασι περιπεσὼν ἐτελεύτησε, τότε συνδρομῆς γενομένης περὶ τοῦ πτώματος νεκρῶν πλῆθος ἐσωρεύθη.

[1] ἀναρχίας δὲ γενομένης περὶ τὸ κέρας, οἱ μὲν περὶ τὸν Ἐπαμεινώνδαν βαρεῖς ἐγκείμενοι τοῖς Λακεδαιμονίοις τὸ μὲν πρῶτον τῇ βίᾳ βραχὺ προέωσαν ἐκ τῆς τάξεως τοὺς πολεμίους, οἱ δὲ Λακεδαιμόνιοι περὶ τοῦ βασιλέως ἀγωνισάμενοι λαμπρῶς τοῦ μὲν σώματος ἐγκρατεῖς ἐγένοντο, τῆς δὲ νίκης οὐκ ἴσχυσαν ἐφικέσθαι.

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[5] As long as the Spartan king Cleombrotus of Sparta was alive and was accompanied by many fellow soldiers who ­were ready to die in his defense, which way the scales of victory inclined was unclear. But though the latter shrank from no danger, he proved unable to make headway against his opponents, and fighting heroically he sustained many wounds and died. Subsequently a mass of men rushed in to the spot where he fell, and a ­great pile of corpses w ­ ere heaped up. 15.56

[1] With command of the left wing lost, the heavy column led by Epaminondas bore down on the Spartans. At first their sheer force caused the ­enemy line to buckle, u ­ ntil the Spartans, fighting bravely over the king’s body, gained possession of it; but they ­were unable to fight through to victory.



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[2] τῶν γὰρ ἐπιλέκτων ὑπερβαλλομένων ταῖς ἀνδραγαθίαις, καὶ τῆς ἀρετῆς καὶ παρακλήσεως Ἐπαμεινώνδου πολλὰ συμβαλλομένης, μόγις ἐβιάσθησαν οἱ Λακεδαιμόνιοι· τὸ μὲν πρῶτον ἀναχωροῦντες τὴν τάξιν οὐ διέλυον, τὸ δὲ τελευταῖον πολλῶν ἀναιρουμένων, τοῦ δὲ παραγγέλλοντος ἡγεμόνος τετελευτηκότος, ἐγένετο παντελὴς τροπὴ τοῦ στρατοπέδου. [3] οἱ δὲ περὶ τὸν Ἐπαμεινώνδαν ἐπικείμενοι τοῖς φεύγουσι καὶ πολλοὺς τῶν ἐναντίων κατακόψαντες ἀπηνέγκαντο νίκην ἐπιφανεστάτην. συμβαλόντες γὰρ τοῖς ἀρίστοις τῶν Ἑλλήνων, καὶ τοῖς ὀλίγοις τῶν πολλαπλασίων παραδόξως περιγενόμενοι, μεγάλην δόξαν ἐπ᾿ ἀνδρείᾳ κατεκτήσαντο. μεγίστων δ᾿ ἐπαίνων ὁ στρατηγὸς Ἐπαμεινώνδας ἠξιώθη, διὰ τῆς ἰδίας ἀνδρείας μάλιστα καὶ στρατηγικῆς συνέσεως τοὺς ἀνικήτους ἡγεμόνας τῆς Ἑλλάδος κατηγωνισμένος.

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[2] The corps of elite fighters, spurred on by the bravery and encouragement of Epaminondas, outdid the Spartans in fighting, with g­ reat effort forcing them back. First the Spartans began to give ground, though they held their formation; but eventually many ­were killed, and, lacking a commander to rally them, the army turned and ­were completely routed. [3] Epaminondas’s corps pursued t­ hose fleeing, cutting down in large numbers any who resisted, and gained for themselves a most glorious victory. For since they had engaged the strongest of the Greeks and, though fielding a smaller force, had miraculously overcome many times their number, they won a ­great reputation for their heroism. The highest praises ­were accorded to the general Epaminondas, who chiefly by his own valor and by his brilliant strategy had defeated in b ­ attle the hitherto invincible leaders of Hellas.

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[4] ἔπεσον δ᾿ ἐν τῇ μάχῃ τῶν Λακεδαιμονίων οὐκ ἐλάττους τῶν τετρακισχιλίων, τῶν δὲ Βοιωτῶν περὶ τριακοσίους. μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα περί τε τῆς τῶν νεκρῶν ἀναιρέσεως καὶ τῆς εἰς Πελοπόννησον ἀπαλλαγῆς τῶν Λακεδαιμονίων σπονδὰς ἐποιήσαντο. καὶ τὰ μὲν περὶ τὴν ἐν Λεύκτροις μάχην συμβάντα τοιοῦτον ἔσχε τέλος.

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[4] More than four thousand  Spartans fell in the b ­ attle, and only about three hundred Boeotians. Following the ­ battle, they called a truce to allow for the bodies of the dead to be collected and the Spartans to return to the Peloponnese. Such was the outcome of the B ­attle of Leuctra.



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4 The Benefits of Competition The ancient Greeks famously valued competition, and the competitive nature of Greek society has been highlighted by historians. The Greeks competed for athletic prizes, military glory, and artistic rewards. In ancient Athens, annual dramatic festivals, such as t­ hose held in honor of the god Dionysus, ­were the locus of intense competition between rival playwrights for coveted prizes. In Politics book 2 (see the se­ lection printed in the final chapter of this book), Aristotle even tells of a proposal by Hippodamus to institute a formal contest to discover new l­egal or constitutional mea­sures. Necessity, it is said, is the “­mother of invention”; so perhaps competition could be called 68

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the f­ather. This chapter considers two ancient Greek accounts of competitive innovation, the first concerning the development of naturalistic painting in Athens, the second relating the earliest creation of artillery weapons in ancient Syracuse.

A Painting Contest The fostering of innovation via the dynamic of competition is exemplified by a story of artistic rivalry in ancient Athens. Zeuxis, the most celebrated painter in antiquity, was born in the Greek city of Heraclea on the Gulf of Taranto, Italy, and settled in Athens in the mid-­fifth ­century BCE. He impressed wealthy patrons by his unpre­ce­dented skill in the use of pigments and shading. They ­were astonished that he could make painted objects look vividly realistic on the flat wooden boards, leather canvasses, and stone walls to which he applied the paint.

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The Roman writer Pliny the Elder tells how one day Zeuxis announced that he had produced a still-­ life painting that surpassed all previous attempts at realistic repre­sen­ta­tion: the image of a bunch of grapes rendered with such naturalism that they had been mistaken for the real t­ hing. Within a few minutes of his unveiling the painting, a flock of birds had flown down and tried to eat the grapes. They had pecked vainly at the painted wooden surface and flown away in bewilderment. Zeuxis was delighted to claim that his skill had fooled the birds, and his proficiency became the talk of Athens. Some weeks l­ ater, Zeuxis was invited to visit the studio of a rival, Parrhasius. Parrhasius was also an immigrant to Athens, from the city of Ephesus on the east coast of Ionia (modern ­Turkey), which had a long tradition of artists—­ even, unusually, female paint­ers such as Tima70

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rata, who was famous for her repre­sen­ta­tion of the goddess Artemis. Entering his fellow artist’s studio, Zeuxis was greeted by Parrhasius, who congratulated him on the paint­erly technique that had made his grapes look so realistic. Parrhasius then pointed to the curtain drawn across the studio, and invited Zeuxis to draw it aside to reveal his own effort. Zeuxis stepped forward and stretched out his arm to take hold of the curtain, but then realized that what he thought was the curtain was, in fact, only the painting of a curtain. He had to acknowledge that he had been soundly defeated in the mock contest: “My painting of grapes deceived the birds,” he said, “but Parrhasius’s painting deceived even me.” The tiny proportion of surviving paintings and portraits from ancient times show a brilliantly sophisticated use of paints, colors, shading, and perspective that are unequalled in

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quality ­until the Re­nais­sance. The use of innovative techniques, utensils, and pigments in this period all contributed to paint­ers’ overriding aim of creating a faithful visual repre­sen­ta­ tion. The contest of Zeuxis and Parrhasius, though clearly fashioned into an appealing story, illustrates the Greeks’ recognition of the way competitive interaction stimulates innovative excellence.

The Invention of Artillery The connection between competition and innovation was clear to Dionysius I, the king of Syracuse in the early fourth c­ entury BCE. Engaged in constant warfare with the power­f ul state of Carthage in North Africa, he sought to tackle a par­tic­u­lar prob­lem faced by ancient

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armies: how to conquer fortified towns. Thick walls could make cities virtually impregnable, forcing commanders to waste their resources and tire out their troops with long and costly sieges. Dionysius knew that Near Eastern nations had used weapons and machines that helped their soldiers to break sieges and thus shorten the pro­cess of conquering ­enemy fortifications, and sought a way to marshal the ingenuity of his p ­ eople to create effective artillery. His solution was to announce a public contest, offering rewards of both cash and prestige for the invention and construction of siege engines. Craftsmen thronged into the center of Syracuse from Sicily and beyond and vied to create some of the most effective siege weapons in the



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ancient world. Among t­hese w ­ ere the catapult and the ballista, battlefield machines capable of launching huge projectiles for considerable distances. At the same time, Diodorus rec­ords, Dionysius sought to outdo his royal ancestors by commissioning the construction of massive sailing ships considerably larger than any that his pre­de­ces­sors had built. ­These w ­ ere to lead to Dionysius’s successor Hieron’s commissioning of Archimedes to design the Syracusia, the

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most impressive floating vessel constructed in antiquity. As the contest of the artists and this example illustrate, stimulating competition, w ­ hether public or personal, con­temporary or transgenerational, was recognized and utilized in Greek antiquity as a mechanism for creating change. Commercial and technical competition remain the key d ­ rivers of innovation in the modern world.



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[41] εὐθὺς οὖν τοὺς τεχνίτας ἤθροιζεν ἐκ μὲν τῶν ὑπ᾿ αὐτὸν ταττομένων πόλεων κατὰ πρόσταγμα, τοὺς δ᾿ ἐξ Ἰταλίας καὶ τῆς Ἑλλάδος ἔτι δὲ τῆς Καρχηδονίων ἐπικρατείας μεγάλοις μισθοῖς προτρεπόμενος. διενοεῖτο γὰρ ὅπλα μὲν παμπληθῆ καὶ βέλη παντοῖα κατασκευάσαι, πρὸς δὲ τούτοις ναῦς τετρήρεις καὶ πεντήρεις, οὐδέπω κατ᾿ ἐκείνους τοὺς χρόνους σκάφους πεντηρικοῦ νεναυπηγημένου. συναχθέντων δὲ πολλῶν τεχνιτῶν, διελὼν αὐτοὺς κατὰ τὰς οἰκείας ἐργασίας κατέστησε τῶν πολιτῶν τοὺς ἐπισημοτάτους, προθεὶς δωρεὰς μεγάλας τοῖς κατασκευάσασιν ὅπλα. διέδωκε δὲ καὶ τῶν ὅπλων τὸν γένους ἑκάστου τύπον διὰ τὸ τοὺς μισθοφόρους ἐκ πολλῶν ἐθνῶν συνεστηκέναι· ἔσπευδε γὰρ ἕκαστον τῶν στρατευομένων κοσμῆσαι τοῖς 76

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The ­Father of Invention Diodorus, History 14.41–42 [41] Dionysius rapidly gathered together skilled workmen from the cities ­under his control and enticed them with high pay from Italy and Greece as well as from Cartha­ginian territories. His aim was to produce weapons and missiles of all kinds in vast quantities, and ships with four and five hulls, larger than had ever been constructed. He divided the workmen into teams according to their skills, headed by the leading citizens, and offered them large rewards to produce arms. He distributed among them a uniform style of armor, ­because having drawn mercenaries from many dif­fer­ent nations he was keen to have all his soldiers arrayed in standard armor, believing that the sight of such an army would strike fear into enemies and that in ­battle

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οἰκείοις ὅπλοις, καὶ διελάμβανε τὸ στρατόπεδον πολλὴν ἕξειν κατάπληξιν διὰ ταύτην τὴν αἰτίαν καὶ κατὰ τὰς μάχας κάλλιστα χρήσεσθαι τῷ συνήθει καθοπλισμῷ πάντας τοὺς συναγωνιζομένους. [42] συμπροθυμουμένων δὲ καὶ τῶν Συρακοσίων τῇ τοῦ Διονυσίου προαιρέσει, πολλὴν συνέβαινε γίνεσθαι  τὴν φιλοτιμίαν περὶ τὴν τῶν ὅπλων κατασκευήν. οὐ μόνον γὰρ ἐν τοῖς προνάοις καὶ τοῖς ὀπισθοδόμοις τῶν ἱερῶν, ἔτι δὲ τοῖς γυμνασίοις καὶ ταῖς κατὰ τὴν ἀγορὰν στοαῖς, ἔγεμε πᾶς τόπος τῶν ἐργαζομένων, ἀλλὰ καὶ χωρὶς τῶν δημοσίων τόπων ἐν ταῖς ἐπιφανεστάταις οἰκίαις ὅπλα παμπληθῆ κατεσκευάζετο. καὶ γὰρ τὸ καταπελτικὸν εὑρέθη κατὰ τοῦτον τὸν καιρὸν ἐν Συρακούσαις, ὡς ἂν τῶν κρατίστων τεχνιτῶν πανταχόθεν εἰς ἕνα τόπον συνηγμένων. τὴν γὰρ προθυμίαν τό τε μέγεθος τῶν μισθῶν ἐξεκαλεῖτο καὶ τὸ πλῆθος τῶν προκειμένων ἄθλων τοῖς ἀρίστοις κριθεῖσι· χωρὶς δὲ τούτων περιπορευόμενος τοὺς ἐργαζομένους ὁ 78

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the soldiers would fight most effectively in the suit of arms to which they had become accustomed. [42] The Syracusans took up Dionysius’s proj­ ect with enthusiasm, and they competed strenuously to manufacture weapons. All available spaces, from the porticoes and back rooms of ­temples to gymnasia and the colonnades in the agora, w ­ ere crowded with workmen. In addition to public spaces, the most opulent private h ­ ouses ­were used for the production of huge quantities of armaments. And in fact it was at this period, with the most skilled craftsmen being concentrated in one place, that the catapult was in­ven­ ted in Syracuse. The efforts of the workmen ­were encouraged by high pay and by the numerous rewards offered to ­those who ­were adjudged the best. In addition, Dionysius circulated daily among the workers and chatted amicably to them,

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Διονύσιος καθ᾿ ἡμέραν λόγοις τε φιλανθρώποις ἐχρῆτο καὶ τοὺς προθυμοτάτους ἐτίμα δωρεαῖς καὶ πρὸς  τὰ συνδείπνια παρελάμβανε. διόπερ ἀνυπέρβλητον φιλοτιμίαν εἰσφέροντες οἱ τεχνῖται πολλὰ προσεπενοοῦντο βέλη καὶ μηχανήματα ξένα καὶ δυνάμενα παρέχεσθαι μεγάλας χρείας. ἤρξατο δὲ ναυπηγεῖσθαι τετρήρεις καὶ πεντηρικὰ σκάφη, πρῶτος ταύτην τὴν κατασκευὴν τῶν νεῶν ἐπινοήσας. ἀκούων γὰρ ὁ Διονύσιος ἐν Κορίνθῳ ναυπηγηθῆναι τριήρη πρώτως, ἔσπευδε κατὰ τὴν ἀποικισθεῖσαν ὑπ᾿ ἐκείνων πόλιν αὐξῆσαι τὸ μέγεθος τῆς τῶν νεῶν κατασκευῆς.

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rewarding the most hardworking with gifts and inviting them to dine with him. Consequently, the craftsmen applied themselves w ­ holeheartedly to devising outlandish missiles and military machines that might be able to provide g­ reat ser­ vices. Dionysius also initiated the construction of four-­and five-­hulled ships, the first person to entertain the creation of vessels like this. As the ruler of a city originally settled by Corinthians, and knowing that triremes had first been built in Corinth, he was e­ ager to build ships of yet greater dimensions.



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5 The Uses and Abuses of Innovation In his Politics, Aristotle turned his focus on to the question of innovation in relation to the self-­governing city-­state (polis), which for the Greeks was the central institution of civilized existence. Writing in the 340s BCE, Aristotle considers vari­ous constitutions, starting with a critique of Socrates’s novel, quasi-­communistic design for an ideal state as set out in Plato’s Republic, before moving on to the more legalistic blueprint offered in Plato’s Laws. Although Aristotle takes a somewhat scattergun approach to Plato’s carefully worked-­out theoretical pro-

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posals, his recognition that no innovative constitution can succeed that does not accord to ­human desire for property owner­ship is psychologically astute and has stood the test of time. Aristotle proceeds to outline and criticize the theoretical systems presented by two less well known thinkers, Phaleas of Chalcedon and the flamboyant town planner Hippodamus of Miletus. The former’s system pre­sents a striking anticipation of modern communistic ideals. The latter is notable for the proposal, among ­others, that successful innovations in the po­liti­cal sphere should be rewarded—­a recognition of the power of incentivization for creating the new. ­After discussing ­these proposals, Aristotle examines some po­liti­cal organ­izations that existed in his day (­these are omitted from this



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­se­lection). He ends with some brief comments noting that innovation in arts or technical disciplines, where it is generally sought and valued, is in a dif­fer­ent category from po­liti­cal ­innovation, where a princi­ple of conservatism tends to dominate. He leaves open the question of ­whether creating change is itself always something to be desired. The distinction Aristotle makes between change in dif­fer­ent domains is a valuable reminder that the meanings and pro­cesses of innovation may differ widely, depending on the

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area or discipline to which it relates, and that innovation need not always be desirable. One further impor­tant mechanism for creating change is demonstrated in action by Aristotle’s own extended examinations of thinkers and constitutions: that is, that criticism of the old can itself be useful for laying the groundwork for new ideas. Aristotle’s discussion in book 2 of the Politics, though naturally of its time, remains a fundamental classical text for how the question of creating change in the po­ liti­cal arena might be addressed.



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[Α] 1260b27 ἐπεὶ δὲ προαιρούμεθα θεωρῆσαι περὶ τῆς κοινωνίας τῆς πολιτικῆς ἣ κρατίστη πασῶν τοῖς δυναμένοις ζῆν ὅτι μάλιστα κατ᾿ εὐχήν, δεῖ καὶ  τὰς ἄλλας ἐπισκέψασθαι πολιτείας αἷς τε χρῶνταί τινες τῶν πόλεων τῶν εὐνομεῖσθαι λεγομένων κἂν εἴ τινες ἕτεραι τυγχάνωσιν ὑπὸ τινῶν εἰρημέναι καὶ δοκοῦσαι καλῶς ἔχειν, ἵνα τό τ᾿ ὀρθῶς ἔχον ὀφθῇ καὶ τὸ χρήσιμον, ἔτι δὲ τὸ ζητεῖν τι παρ᾿ αὐτὰς ἕτερον μὴ δοκῇ πάντως εἶναι σοφίζεσθαι βουλομένων, ἀλλὰ διὰ τὸ μὴ καλῶς ἔχειν ταύτας τὰς νῦν ὑπαρχούσας, διὰ τοῦτο ταύτην δοκῶμεν ἐπιβαλέσθαι τὴν μέθοδον. [Β] ἀρχὴν δὲ πρῶτον ποιητέον ἥπερ πέφυκεν ἀρχὴ  ταύτης τῆς σκέψεως. ἀνάγκη γὰρ ἤτοι 86

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Aristotle on Constitutions Politics Book 2, 1260b27–1269a29 (Abridged) EXAMINATION OF EXISTING SCENARIOS

[A] Since I have de­cided to consider what form of government might work best for t­ hose who are in a position to realize their ideal way of life, I ­will examine forms of government other than our own, for example states that are reputed to be well-­governed, as well as well-­respected po­ liti­cal theories. My aim is partly to find out what makes sense and works, and the object of innovating on ­these constitutions is not simply to display ingenuity but b ­ ecause all existing forms of government are unsatisfactory. [B] One must begin with the natu­ral starting point of such an inquiry. Citizens in a state w ­ ill

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­πάντας πάντων κοινωνεῖν τοὺς πολίτας, ἢ μηδενός, ἢ τινῶν μὲν τινῶν δὲ μή. τὸ μὲν οὖν μηδενὸς κοινωνεῖν  φανερὸν ὡς ἀδύνατον (ἡ γὰρ πολιτεία κοινωνία τίς ἐστι, καὶ πρῶτον ἀνάγκη τοῦ τόπου κοινωνεῖν, ὁ μὲν γὰρ τόπος εἷς ὁ τῆς μιᾶς πόλεως, οἱ δὲ πολῖται  κοινωνοὶ τῆς μιᾶς πόλεως)· ἀλλὰ πότερον ὅσων ἐνδέχεται κοινωνῆσαι πάντων βέλτιον κοινωνεῖν τὴν μέλλουσαν οἰκήσεσθαι πόλιν καλῶς, ἢ τινῶν μὲν τινῶν δ᾿ οὐ βέλτιον; ἐνδέχεται γὰρ καὶ τέκνων καὶ γυναικῶν καὶ κτημάτων κοινωνεῖν τοὺς πολίτας ἀλλήλοις, ὥσπερ ἐν τῇ Πολιτείᾳ τῇ Πλάτωνος· ἐκεῖ γὰρ ὁ Σωκράτης φησὶ δεῖν κοινὰ τὰ τέκνα καὶ τὰς γυναῖκας εἶναι καὶ τὰς κτήσεις. τοῦτο δὴ πότερον ὡς νῦν οὕτω βέλτιον ἔχειν, ἢ κατὰ τὸν ἐν τῇ Πολιτείᾳ γεγραμμένον νόμον; [C] καίτοι φανερόν ἐστιν ὡς προϊοῦσα καὶ γινομένη μία μᾶλλον οὐδὲ πόλις ἔσται· πλῆθος γάρ τι τὴν φύσιν ἐστὶν ἡ πόλις, γινομένη τε μία μᾶλλον οἰκία μὲν ἐκ πόλεως, ἄνθρωπος δ᾿ ἐξ οἰκίας 88

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share ­either every­thing in common, or nothing, or some t­ hings and not o ­ thers. To have no share in anything is obviously impossible, as the state is an association and must have a shared location. A single city has a single territory, and its citizens share that one territory. But is it better in a state for all citizens to share every­thing capable of being shared, or only some t­ hings and not ­others? Citizens could conceivably hold wives, ­children, and property in common, as Socrates proposes in Plato’s Republic. Is this better than our current arrangement?

Should a State Be a Unity? [C] It’s clear that the more a state approaches unity, the less it qualifies as being a state. The nature of a state is to be a plurality, and in tending ­toward unity a state becomes more like a

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ἔσται, μᾶλλον γὰρ μίαν τὴν οἰκίαν τῆς πόλεως φαίημεν ἂν καὶ τὸν ἕνα τῆς οἰκίας· ὥστ᾿ εἰ καὶ δυνατός τις εἴη τοῦτο δρᾶν, οὐ ποιητέον, ἀναιρήσει γὰρ τὴν πόλιν.

[D] οὐ μόνον δ᾿ ἐκ πλειόνων ἀνθρώπων ἐστὶν ἡ πόλις, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐξ εἴδει διαφερόντων. οὐ γὰρ γίνεται πόλις ἐξ ὁμοίων. ἕτερον γὰρ συμμαχία  καὶ πόλις· τὸ μὲν γὰρ τῷ ποσῷ χρήσιμον, κἂν ᾖ τὸ αὐτὸ τῷ εἴδει (βοηθείας γὰρ χάριν ἡ συμμαχία πέφυκεν), ὥσπερ ἂν εἰ σταθμὸς πλεῖον ἑλκύσειε, ἐξ ὧν δὲ δεῖ ἓν γενέσθαι εἴδει δεῖ διαφέρειν.

[E] 1261a30 διόπερ τὸ ἴσον τὸ ἀντιπεπονθὸς σῴζει τὰς πόλεις, ὥσπερ ἐν τοῖς Ἠθικοῖς εἴρηται πρότερον. ἐπεὶ καὶ ἐν τοῖς ἐλευθέροις καὶ ἴσοις 90

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­house­hold, and from being a h ­ ouse­hold becomes more like an individual. (We would agree that the h ­ ouse­hold is more unified than a state, and an individual more than a h ­ ouse­hold.) So we ­shouldn’t aim for this even if we could achieve it, for it would mean the state would no longer be a state. [D] A state is not made up only of many ­people, but of a variety of kinds of p ­ eople; a state cannot simply be constituted of similar individuals. It’s not like an alliance, whose usefulness depends simply on the numbers, not on dif­fer­ent kinds, of men. The objective of an alliance is military support, where the greater the quantity, the greater the weight.

The Princi­ple of Rotation [E] The princi­ple of reciprocal duties, as I noted in the Ethics, is what keeps states in being, so that even when men are f­ree and equal this

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ἀνάγκη τοῦτ᾿ εἶναι· ἅμα γὰρ οὐχ οἷόν τε πάντας ἄρχειν, ἀλλ᾿ ἢ κατ᾿ ἐνιαυτὸν ἢ κατά τινα ἄλλην τάξιν ἢ χρόνον· καὶ συμβαίνει δὴ τὸν τρόπον τοῦτον ὥστε πάντας ἄρχειν, ὥσπερ ἂν εἰ μετέβαλλον οἱ σκυτεῖς καὶ οἱ τέκτονες καὶ μὴ οἱ αὐτοὶ ἀεὶ σκυτοτόμοι καὶ τέκτονες ἦσαν. [F] ἐπεὶ δὲ βέλτιον οὕτως ἔχειν καὶ τὰ περὶ τὴν κοινωνίαν τὴν πολιτικήν, δῆλον ὡς τοὺς αὐτοὺς ἀεὶ βέλτιον ἄρχειν, εἰ δυνατόν· ἐν οἷς δὲ μὴ δυνατὸν διὰ τὸ τὴν φύσιν ἴσους εἶναι πάντας, ἅμα δὲ καὶ δίκαιον, εἴτ᾿ ἀγαθὸν εἴτε φαῦλον τὸ ἄρχειν, πάντας αὐτοῦ μετέχειν, τοῦτο δὲ μιμεῖται τὸ ἐν μέρει τοὺς ἴσους εἴκειν τὸ ἀνομοίους εἶναι ἐξ ἀρχῆς· οἱ μὲν γὰρ ἄρχουσιν οἱ δ᾿ ἄρχονται παρὰ μέρος, ὥσπερ ἂν ἄλλοι γενόμενοι, καὶ τὸν αὐτὸν δὴ τρόπον ἀρχόντων ἕτεροι ἑτέρας ἄρχουσιν ἀρχάς.

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princi­ple should be maintained. Since they cannot all govern at the same time, they must rotate at year-end or some other period, or according to some order of succession. This way every­one gets to govern, just as if shoe­makers  and carpenters ­were to change places instead of keeping on with the same kind of work. [F] This princi­ple should operate in politics too. Clearly it would be better if pos­si­ble to ensure continuity of government,  but if that is not pos­si­ble it’s right for citizens who are by nature of equal status to take turns in governing, ­whether to govern is desirable or a burden. So ­people of equal status should be rotated in public office and be treated equally when out of office. This way one party governs and is governed in turn, as if they w ­ ere dif­fer­ent ­people in each case. ­T hose who hold office are similarly differentiated by holding now one office and now another.

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[G] φανερὸν τοίνυν ἐκ τούτων ὡς  οὔτε πέφυκε μίαν οὕτως εἶναι τὴν πόλιν ὥσπερ λέγουσί τινες, καὶ τὸ λεχθὲν ὡς μέγιστον ἀγαθὸν ἐν ταῖς πόλεσιν ὅτι τὰς πόλεις ἀναιρεῖ· καίτοι τό γε ἑκάστου ἀγαθὸν σῴζει ἕκαστον. ἔστι δὲ καὶ κατ᾿ ἄλλον τρόπον φανερὸν ὅτι τὸ λίαν ἑνοῦν ζητεῖν τὴν πόλιν οὐκ ἔστιν ἄμεινον. οἰκία μὲν γὰρ αὐταρκέστερον ἑνός, πόλις δ᾿ οἰκίας, καὶ βούλεταί γ᾿ ἤδη τότε εἶναι πόλις ὅταν αὐτάρκη συμβαίνῃ τὴν κοινωνίαν εἶναι τοῦ πλήθους· εἴπερ οὖν αἱρετώτερον τὸ αὐταρκέστερον, καὶ τὸ ἧττον ἓν τοῦ μᾶλλον αἱρετώτερον.

[H] 1262b37 ἐχόμενον δὲ τούτων ἐστὶν ἐπισκέψασθαι  περὶ τῆς κτήσεως, τίνα τρόπον δεῖ κατασκευάζεσθαι τοῖς μέλλουσι πολιτεύεσθαι τὴν ἀρίστην πολιτείαν, πότερον κοινὴν ἢ μὴ κοινὴν 94

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[G] It’s clear from this that a state is not by nature a unity in the way some suppose, and this alleged goal would in fact bring about a state’s dissolution, whereas what is good for anything is what helps preserve it. And t­ here is another argument against seeking to make a state excessively homogeneous: a ­house­hold is more self-­sufficient than an individual, and a state more than a h ­ ouse­hold, and a state emerges only once t­ here’s a community of sufficient size to be self-­sufficient. Since the more self-­sufficient it is the better, so also the lesser degree of homogeneity the better.

Criticism of Communistic Property Arrangements [H] Next, we should think about property arrangements: should the citizens of the ideal state share possessions in common or not? This question may be discussed separately from legislation

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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. [I] 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 96

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about wives and c­ hildren. While the latter might still belong to individuals, as is the universal practice, one might propose that ­either property or its use should be communal. That is, plots of land could be individually owned but their produce pooled for common consumption, as in some foreign nations; or conversely, land could be communally owned and farmed but the produce distributed for individual  use (this form of communal owner­ship is said to exist among some non-­Greek ­peoples); or both land and produce could be shared. [I] Another system, and one that works more easily, would be one in which t­ hose who work land do not own it, ­because when p ­ eople work on private land for their own benefit the question of owner­ship c­ auses ill feeling. If the work done is unequal to the benefit obtained, t­ hose who work harder for less gain ­will resent ­those

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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. [J] 1263a21 τὸ μὲν οὖν κοινὰς εἶναι τὰς κτήσεις ταύτας τε καὶ ἄλλας τοιαύτας ἔχει δυσχερείας, ὃν δὲ νῦν τρόπον ἔχει καὶ ἐπικοσμηθὲν ἤθεσι καὶ τάξει νόμων ὀρθῶν οὐ μικρὸν ἂν διενέγκαι· ἕξει γὰρ τὸ ἐξ ἀμφοτέρων ἀγαθόν, λέγω δὲ τὸ ἐξ ἀμφοτέρων τὸ ἐκ τοῦ κοινὰς εἶναι τὰς κτήσεις καὶ τὸ ἐκ τοῦ ἰδίας. δεῖ γὰρ πῶς μὲν εἶναι κοινάς, ὅλως δ᾿ ἰδίας. αἱ μὲν γὰρ ἐπιμέλειαι διῃρημέναι τὰ ἐγκλήματα πρὸς ἀλλήλους οὐ ποιήσουσιν, μᾶλλον δ᾿ἐπιδώσουσιν ὡς πρὸς ἴδιον ἑκάστου προσεδρεύοντος· δι᾿ ἀρετὴν δ᾿ ἔσται πρὸς τὸ 98

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who do less work and receive more.  In any ­human situation, living together and sharing is hard enough, but especially so in this kind of scenario. ­People who club together for travel are a good example of this: they  usually fall out over trifles and quarrel about trivial ­things. So with our h ­ ouse­hold servants, t­ hose we get most annoyed with are the ones we employ for routine tasks. [J] T ­ hese are only some of the disadvantages of common owner­ship of property. The way we do ­things now, if it could be enhanced by habitual rules and sound institutions, would work far better, and would have the advantages of both systems. What I mean is that possessions should be held in common up to a point, but the general princi­ple should be private owner­ship. When every­one has a stake ­people resent each other less, and p ­ eople work harder when they busy themselves with their own property. It’s a

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χρῆσθαι κατὰ τὴν παροιμίαν κοινὰ τὰ φίλων. ἔστι δὲ καὶ νῦν τὸν τρόπον τοῦτον ἐν ἐνίαις πόλεσιν οὕτως ὑπογεγραμμένον ὡς οὐκ ὂν ἀδύνατον, καὶ μάλιστα ἐν ταῖς καλῶς οἰκουμέναις τὰ μὲν ἔστι τὰ δὲ γένοιτ᾿ ἄν· ἰδίαν γὰρ ἕκαστος τὴν κτῆσιν ἔχων τὰ μὲν χρήσιμα ποιεῖ  τοῖς φίλοις τοῖς δὲ χρῆται κοινοῖς.

[K] 1265a1 τῶν δὲ Νόμων τὸ μὲν  πλεῖστον μέρος νόμοι τυγχάνουσιν ὄντες, ὀλίγα δὲ περὶ τῆς πολιτείας εἴρηκεν, καὶ ταύτην βουλόμενος κοινοτέραν ποιεῖν ταῖς πόλεσι κατὰ μικρὸν περιάγει  πάλιν πρὸς τὴν ἑτέραν Πολιτείαν. ἔξω γὰρ τῆς τῶν γυναικῶν κοινωνίας καὶ τῆς κτήσεως, τὰ ἄλλα ταὐτὰ ἀποδίδωσιν ἀμφοτέραις ταῖς πολιτείαις· καὶ γὰρ παιδείαν τὴν αὐτήν, καὶ τὸ τῶν ἔργων τῶν ἀναγκαίων ἀπεχομένους ζῆν, 100

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­matter of noblesse oblige to “share and share alike,” as they say. You find this practice in some states, proving that it can work; and it’s especially evident in flourishing states, where it is already found and could be more widely extended. On this scenario every­one has their own possessions, but some part they make available to friends and some part they share the use of with ­others.

Criticism of Plato’s Laws [K] Most of Plato’s Laws consists of proposed “laws,” and not much is said about the constitution as such. Plato wanted to make it more like a­ ctual states, but he gradually brings it back round to the ideal state of the Republic. Apart from not advocating the sharing of wives and property, he proposes every­thing e­ lse on the same pattern: the same kind of education, the same freedom from essential tasks, the same

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καὶ περὶ συσσιτίων ὡσαύτως, πλὴν ἐν ταύτῃ φησὶ δεῖν εἶναι συσσίτια καὶ γυναικῶν, καὶ τὴν μὲν χιλίων τῶν ὅπλα κεκτημένων, ταύτην δὲ πεντακισχιλίων. [L] τὸ μὲν οὖν περιττὸν ἔχουσι πάντες οἱ τοῦ Σωκράτους λόγοι καὶ τὸ κομψὸν καὶ τὸ καινοτόμον καὶ τὸ ζητητικόν, καλῶς δὲ πάντα ἴσως χαλεπόν· ἐπεὶ καὶ τὸ νῦν εἰρημένον πλῆθος δεῖ μὴ λανθάνειν ὅτι χώρας δεήσει τοῖς τοσούτοις Βαβυλωνίας ἤ τινος ἄλλης ἀπεράντου τὸ πλῆθος, ἐξ ἧς ἀργοὶ πεντακισχίλιοι θρέψονται καὶ περὶ τούτους γυναικῶν καὶ θεραπόντων ἕτερος ὄχλος πολλαπλάσιος. δεῖ μὲν οὖν ὑποτίθεσθαι κατ᾿ εὐχήν, μηδὲν μέντοι ἀδύνατον.

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­arrangements for common meals. The only difference is that in the Laws common meals are extended to w ­ omen, and ­those who bear arms number five thousand as opposed to one thousand in the Republic. [L] The Socratic dialogues exhibit extraordinary ingenuity, originality, and inventiveness; but it’s hard to get every­thing right. We shouldn’t overlook the fact that the number of five thousand citizens  just mentioned would require a territory as large as Babylon or some other huge country to support such a number of individuals not working on the land, together  with ­women and servants who would multiply that number many times over. We can create any imaginary blueprint we like, but it should be within the limits of what is pos­si­ble.



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[M] 1265b27 ἡ δὲ σύνταξις ὅλη βούλεται μὲν εἶναι μήτε δημοκρατία μήτε ὀλιγαρχία, μέση δὲ τούτων ἣν καλοῦσι πολιτείαν, ἐκ γὰρ τῶν ὁπλιτευόντων ἐστίν. εἰ μὲν οὖν ὡς κοινοτάτην ταύτην κατασκευάζει ταῖς πόλεσι τῶν ἄλλων πολιτείαν, καλῶς εἴρηκεν ἴσως, εἰ δ᾿ ὡς ἀρίστην μετὰ τὴν πρώτην πολιτείαν, οὐ καλῶς· τάχα γὰρ τὴν τῶν Λακώνων ἄν τις ἐπαινέσειε μᾶλλον, ἢ κἂν ἄλλην τινὰ ἀριστοκρατικωτέραν.

[N] ἔνιοι μὲν οὖν λέγουσιν ὡς δεῖ τὴν ἀρίστην πολιτείαν ἐξ ἁπασῶν εἶναι τῶν πολιτειῶν μεμιγμένην,  διὸ καὶ τὴν τῶν Λακεδαιμονίων ἐπαινοῦσιν (εἶναι γὰρ αὐτὴν οἱ μὲν ἐξ ὀλιγαρχίας καὶ μοναρχίας καὶ δημοκρατίας φασίν, λέγοντες τὴν μὲν βασιλείαν μοναρχίαν, τὴν δὲ τῶν γερόντων ἀρχὴν ὀλιγαρχίαν, δημοκρατεῖσθαι δὲ 104

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Combining Constitutional Forms [M] Plato’s system of government aims to be neither a democracy nor an oligarchy, but something in between, which is usually called “a republic,” and is based on the citizenry of soldiers. If he intends to frame a constitution that would suit most states,  perhaps this is on the right lines, but not if this constitution is intended to be a second-­best to his ideal constitution. In that case one would prefer the Spartan model, or some other constitution based on the rule of the best citizens. [N] Some would indeed say that the best constitution is a combination of all existing forms, and admire the Spartan model as being a mixture of oligarchy,  monarchy, and democracy (the king is the monarch, the council  of elders are the oligarchy, and the demo­cratic ele­ment is represented by the ephors, since they

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κατὰ τὴν τῶν ἐφόρων ἀρχὴν διὰ τὸ ἐκ τοῦ δήμου εἶναι τοὺς ἐφόρους, οἱ δὲ τὴν μὲν ἐφορείαν εἶναι τυραννίδα, δημοκρατεῖσθαι δὲ κατά τε τὰ συσσίτια καὶ τὸν ἄλλον βίον τὸν καθ᾿ ἡμέραν)· ἐν δὲ τοῖς Νόμοις εἴρηται τούτοις ὡς δέον συγκεῖσθαι τὴν ἀρίστην πολιτείαν ἐκ δημοκρατίας καὶ τυραννίδος, ἃς ἢ τὸ παράπαν οὐκ ἄν τις θείη πολιτείας ἢ χειρίστας πασῶν.

[A] 1266a32 εἰσὶ δέ τινες πολιτεῖαι καὶ ἄλλαι, αἱ μὲν  ἰδιωτῶν αἱ δὲ φιλοσόφων καὶ πολιτικῶν, πᾶσαι δὲ τῶν καθεστηκυιῶν καὶ καθ᾿ ἃς πολιτεύονται νῦν ἐγγύτερόν εἰσι τούτων ἀμφοτέρων· οὐδεὶς γὰρ οὔτε τὴν περὶ τὰ τέκνα κοινότητα καὶ τὰς γυναῖκας ἄλλος κεκαινοτόμηκεν οὔτε περὶ τὰ συσσίτια τῶν γυναικῶν, ἀλλ᾿ ἀπὸ τῶν ἀναγκαίων ἄρχονται μᾶλλον. δοκεῖ γάρ τισι τὸ περὶ τὰς οὐσίας εἶναι μέγιστον τετάχθαι

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are selected from the p ­ eople). ­Others, however, say the ephorate is a tyranny and identify the demo­cratic ele­ment in the common meals and in aspects of daily life. In the Laws it is maintained that the best republic should consist of democracy and tyranny,  but ­these ­either are not “republics” at all or are the worst kind.

Other Proposed Constitutions: Phaleas’s Proposal [A] Other constitutions have been proposed, some by private individuals, ­others by phi­los­ o­phers and politicians, which are all more similar to established  or existing constitutions than ­either of Plato’s is. No one ­else has introduced such novelties as sharing wives and children, or instituting common meals for ­women, but they start off with the essentials. Some think the regulation of property is the most



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καλῶς· περὶ γὰρ τούτων ποιεῖσθαί φασι τὰς στάσεις πάντας. [B] διὸ Φαλέας ὁ Χαλκηδόνιος τοῦτ᾿ εἰσήνεγκε πρῶτος· φησὶ γὰρ δεῖν ἴσας εἶναι τὰς κτήσεις τῶν πολιτῶν· τοῦτο  δὲ κατοικιζομέναις μὲν εὐθὺς οὐ χαλεπὸν ᾤετο ποιεῖν, τὰς δ᾿ ἤδη κατοικουμένας ἐργωδέστερον μέν, ὅμως δὲ τάχιστ᾿ ἂν ὁμαλισθῆναι τῷ τὰς προῖκας τοὺς μὲν πλουσίους διδόναι μὲν λαμβάνειν δὲ μή, τοὺς δὲ πένητας μὴ διδόναι μὲν λαμβάνειν δέ. Πλάτων δὲ τοὺς Νόμους γράφων μέχρι μέν τινος ᾤετο δεῖν ἐᾶν, πλεῖον δὲ τοῦ πενταπλασίαν εἶναι τῆς ἐλαχίστης μηδενὶ τῶν πολιτῶν ἐξουσίαν εἶναι κτήσασθαι, καθάπερ εἴρηται καὶ πρότερον. [C] δεῖ δὲ μηδὲ τοῦτο λανθάνειν τοὺς οὕτω νομοθετοῦντας, ὃ λανθάνει νῦν, ὅτι τὸ τῆς οὐσίας τάττοντας πλῆθος προσήκει καὶ τῶν τέκνων τὸ πλῆθος τάττειν· ἐὰν γὰρ ὑπεραίρῃ τῆς οὐσίας τὸ μέγεθος ὁ τῶν τέκνων ἀριθμός, ἀνάγκη τόν γε 108

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impor­tant t­ hing, noting that revolutions always turn on this. [B] This was recognized by Phaleas of Chalcedon, who was the first to propose that the citizens of a state should have equal wealth. He thought that in a new city-­settlement this could be done without difficulty, but would be harder in an established state, and that then the quickest way of equalizing wealth would be for the rich to give but not receive dowries, and vice versa for the poor. Plato in the Laws thought that accumulation of wealth should be allowed up to a point, but that (as I have already observed) no citizen  should possess more than five times that of the least well-off. [C] ­T hose who make such laws should remember what p ­ eople tend to forget, that in fixing the level of property they must also regulate the number of ­children. If the number of ­children is too high for the property to sustain,

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νόμον λύεσθαι, καὶ χωρὶς τῆς λύσεως φαῦλον τὸ πολλοὺς ἐκ πλουσίων γίνεσθαι πένητας· ἔργον γὰρ μὴ νεωτεροποιοὺς εἶναι τοὺς τοιούτους. [D] διότι μὲν οὖν ἔχει τινα δύναμιν εἰς τὴν πολιτικὴν κοινωνίαν ἡ τῆς οὐσίας ὁμαλότης, καὶ τῶν πάλαι τινὲς φαίνονται διεγνωκότες, οἷον καὶ Σόλων ἐνομοθέτησεν, καὶ παρ᾿ ἄλλοις ἐστὶ νόμος ὃς κωλύει κτᾶσθαι γῆν ὁπόσην ἂν βούληταί τις· ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ τὴν οὐσίαν πωλεῖν οἱ νόμοι κωλύουσιν, ὥσπερ ἐν Λοκροῖς νόμος ἐστὶ μὴ πωλεῖν ἐὰν μὴ φανερὰν ἀτυχίαν δείξῃ συμβεβηκυῖαν.

[E] 1266b39 ἔτι στασιάζουσιν οὐ μόνον διὰ τὴν ἀνισότητα τῆς κτήσεως, ἀλλὰ καὶ διὰ τὴν τῶν τιμῶν, τοὐναντίον δὲ περὶ ἑκάτερον· οἱ μὲν γὰρ πολλοὶ διὰ τὸ περὶ τὰς κτήσεις ἄνισον, οἱ δὲ χαρίεντες περὶ τῶν τιμῶν ἐὰν ἴσαι· ὅθεν καὶ ἐν δὲ 110

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the law must be revoked; and besides the revocation of the law, the prob­lem arises that many who w ­ ere rich w ­ ill become poor, and such ­people are bound to want to incite revolution. [D] The impact on society of equalizing property was well understood even by some of the ancient legislators. Solon and o ­ thers passed laws prohibiting an individual from possessing unlimited property, and laws in some states nowadays forbid the sale of property. In Locri, for example, the law forbids ­people selling their property u ­ nless they can demonstrate that they have suffered con­spic­u­ous adversity.

Criticism of Phaleas’s Proposal [E] Civil strife arises not only out of in­ equality of possessions but out of in­equality of distinctions, though for opposite reasons. Ordinary ­people resent the in­equality of property, but the elite classes resent distinctions being

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ἰῇ τιμῇ ἠμὲν κακὸς ἠδὲ καὶ ἐσθλός. οὐ μόνον δ᾿ οἱ ἄνθρωποι διὰ τἀναγκαῖα ἀδικοῦσιν, ὧν ἄκος εἶναι νομίζει τὴν ἰσότητα τῆς οὐσίας, ὥστε μὴ λωποδυτεῖν διὰ τὸ ῥιγοῦν ἢ πεινῆν, ἀλλὰ καὶ ὅπως χαίρωσι καὶ μὴ ἐπιθυμῶσιν· ἐὰν γὰρ μείζω ἔχωσιν ἐπιθυμίαν τῶν ἀναγκαίων, διὰ τὴν ταύτης ἰατρείαν ἀδικήσουσιν· οὐ τοίνυν διὰ ταύτην μόνον, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἵνα χαίρωσι ταῖς ἄνευ λυπῶν ἡδοναῖς.

[F] τί οὖν ἄκος τῶν τριῶν τούτων; τοῖς μὲν οὐσία βραχεῖα καὶ ἐργασία, τοῖς δὲ σωφροσύνη· τρίτον δ᾿, εἴ τινες βούλοιντο δι᾿ αὑτῶν χαίρειν, οὐκ ἂν ἐπιζητοῖεν εἰ μὴ παρὰ φιλοσοφίας ἄκος, αἱ γὰρ ἄλλαι ἀνθρώπων δέονται. ἐπεὶ ἀδικοῦσί γε τὰ μέγιστα διὰ τὰς ὑπερβολάς, ἀλλ᾿ οὐ διὰ τὰ ἀναγκαῖα (οἷον τυραννοῦσιν οὐχ ἵνα μὴ ῥιγῶσιν, 112

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shared out equally, since then, as the verse runs, “good and bad are held in like esteem.” ­There are crimes for which the motive is want; and Phaleas supposes that equalization of property ­will take away the temptation to steal b ­ ecause one is cold or hungry. But want is not the sole motive; ­people also wish to enjoy themselves and satisfy their desires and find in crime a way to remedy a desire for something beyond mere necessities. ­T here may yet be other motives: even ­people who feel no such desire may seek plea­sure unaccompanied with pain and commit crimes with that in view. [F] What is the remedy for this? In the first case, moderate possessions and employment; in the second, self-­control. As for the third, if someone wants to find a plea­sure that depends on themselves alone, philosophy is the answer; for other pleasures depend on other p ­ eople. The fact is that major crimes are caused by a desire

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διὸ καὶ αἱ τιμαὶ μεγάλαι ἂν ἀποκτείνῃ τις οὐ ­κ λέπτην ἀλλὰ τύραννον)· ὥστε πρὸς τὰς μικρὰς ἀδικίας βοηθητικὸς μόνον ὁ τρόπος τῆς Φαλέου πολιτείας. [G] 1267a38 ἔστι μὲν οὖν τι τῶν συμφερόντων τὸ τὰς οὐσίας εἶναι ἴσας τοῖς πολίταις πρὸς τὸ μὴ στασιάζειν πρὸς ἀλλήλους, οὐ μὴν μέγ᾿ οὐδὲν ὡς εἰπεῖν. καὶ γὰρ ἂν οἱ χαρίεντες ἀγανακτοῖεν ὡς οὐκ ἴσων ὄντες ἄξιοι, διὸ καὶ φαίνονται πολλάκις ἐπιτιθέμενοι καὶ στασιάζοντες· ἔτι δ᾿ ἡ πονηρία τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἄπληστον, καὶ τὸ πρῶτον μὲν ἱκανὸν διωβολία μόνον, ὅταν δ᾿ ἤδη τοῦτ᾿ ᾖ πάτριον, ἀεὶ δέονται τοῦ πλείονος, ἕως εἰς ἄπειρον ἔλθωσιν· ἄπειρος γὰρ ἡ τῆς ἐπιθυμίας φύσις, ἧς πρὸς τὴν ἀναπλήρωσιν οἱ πολλοὶ ζῶσιν. τῶν οὖν τοιούτων ἀρχή, μᾶλλον τοῦ τὰς οὐσίας ὁμαλίζειν, τὸ τοὺς μὲν ἐπιεικεῖς τῇ φύσει τοιούτους παρασκευάζειν ὥστε μὴ βούλεσθαι πλεονεκτεῖν, τοὺς δὲ φαύλους ὥστε μὴ 114

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for excesses and not necessities. Men do not become dictators to prevent themselves being cold; and that is why to kill a tyrant is more admirable than to kill a thief. So Phaleas’s system works only in preventing lesser crimes. [G] While equalization of property is one ­thing that safeguards against civil strife, it creates no par­tic­u­lar advantage. First, the elite classes w ­ ill be unhappy b ­ ecause they think they should receive more than an equal share of honors, and this often leads to agitation and revolution. Secondly, ­human beings are insatiable; first they get used to a two-­obol dole, then they want more and more, without end. It’s the nature of desire not to be satisfied, and most ­people live only to gratify it. In such circumstances, a better point of departure than equality of possession would be to ensure that sensible p ­ eople should be trained not to want to acquire excess, and t­ hose less favored should be

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­δύνασθαι· τοῦτο δ᾿ ἐστὶν ἂν ἥττους τε ὦσι καὶ μὴ ἀδικῶνται. [H] 1267b13 οὐ καλῶς δ᾿ οὐδὲ τὴν ἰσότητα τῆς οὐσίας εἴρηκεν· περὶ γὰρ τὴν τῆς γῆς κτῆσιν ἰσάζει μόνον, ἔστι δὲ καὶ δούλων καὶ βοσκημάτων πλοῦτος καὶ νομίσματος, καὶ κατασκευὴ πολλὴ τῶν καλουμένων ἐπίπλων· ἢ πάντων οὖν τούτων ἰσότητα ζητητέον ἢ τάξιν τινὰ μετρίαν, ἢ πάντα ἐατέον.

[I] Ἱππόδαμος δὲ Εὐρυφῶντος Μιλήσιος (ὃς καὶ τὴν τῶν πόλεων διαίρεσιν εὗρε καὶ τὸν Πειραιᾶ κατέτεμεν, γενόμενος καὶ περὶ τὸν ἄλλον βίον περιττότερος διὰ φιλοτιμίαν οὕτως ὥστε δοκεῖν ἐνίοις ζῆν περιεργότερον τριχῶν τε πλήθει καὶ κόσμῳ πολυτελεῖ, ἔτι δὲ ἐσθῆτος εὐτελοῦς μὲν ἀλεεινῆς δὲ οὐκ ἐν τῷ χειμῶνι μόνον ἀλλὰ καὶ περὶ τοὺς θερινοὺς χρόνους, λόγιος δὲ 116

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prevented from ­doing so (that is, they should be kept u ­ nder control, not treated unfairly). [H] Βesides, the equalization proposed by Phaleas is flawed. He applies it only to possession of land, whereas wealth may be had in slaves, and ­cattle, and money, and in a profusion of what are called movable assets.  ­Either all ­these ­things must be equalized, or some limit must be imposed on them, or the plan should be dropped altogether.

Hippodamus’s Proposal [I] Hippodamus son of Euryphon, of Miletus, the man who in­ven­ted urban design and laid out the street plan of the Piraeus, was  a strange man, keen to stand out from ­others, an ambition that led him to eccentricity that some found excessive; he had long hair and wore expensive ornaments, but his clothes ­were cheap and warm in winter and summer alike. As well as

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καὶ περὶ τὴν ὅλην φύσιν εἶναι βουλόμενος) πρῶτος τῶν μὴ  πολιτευομένων ἐνεχείρησέ τι περὶ πολιτείας εἰπεῖν τῆς ἀρίστης. [J] κατεσκεύαζε δὲ τὴν πόλιν τῷ πλήθει μὲν μυρίανδρον, εἰς τρία δὲ μέρη διῃρημένην· ἐποίει γὰρ ἓν μὲν μέρος τεχνίτας, ἓν δὲ γεωργούς, τρίτον δὲ τὸ προπολεμοῦν καὶ τὰ ὅπλα ἔχον. διῄρει δ᾿ εἰς τρία μέρη τὴν χώραν, τὴν μὲν ἱερὰν τὴν δὲ δημοσίαν τὴν δ᾿ ἰδίαν· ὅθεν μὲν τὰ νομιζόμενα ποιήσουσι πρὸς τοὺς θεούς, ἱεράν, ἀφ᾿ ὧν δ᾿ οἱ προπολεμοῦντες βιώσονται, κοινήν, τὴν δὲ τῶν γεωργῶν ἰδίαν. [K] ᾤετο δ᾿ εἴδη καὶ τῶν νόμων εἶναι τρία μόνον· περὶ ὧν γὰρ αἱ δίκαι γίνονται, τρία ταῦτ᾿ εἶναι τὸν ἀριθμόν, ὕβριν βλάβην θάνατον. ἐνομοθέτει δὲ καὶ δικαστήριον ἓν τὸ κύριον εἰς ὃ πάσας ἀνάγεσθαι δεῖν τὰς μὴ καλῶς κεκρίσθαι δοκούσας δίκας, τοῦτο δὲ κατεσκεύαζεν ἐκ τινῶν γερόντων αἱρετῶν. τὰς δὲ κρίσεις ἐν τοῖς 118

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aiming to be an expert on a w ­ hole range of natu­ral science, he was the first man without po­liti­cal authority to attempt to propose an ideal form of government. [J] Hippodamus’s state consisted of ten thousand citizens divided into three, one part skilled workers, another farmers, and a third of men in arms. He also divided the land into three parts, sacred, public, and private: the first to be set apart to maintain the worship of the gods, the second to support the soldiers,  the third the property of the farmers. [K] He also divided laws into three classes only, corresponding to the three grounds for lawsuits: insult, injury, and hom­i­cide. He likewise instituted a single supreme court, to which all cases felt to have been improperly de­cided might be referred. This court he formed of selected older citizens. Verdicts of the courts were

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δικαστηρίοις οὐ διὰ ψηφοφορίας ᾤετο γίνεσθαι δεῖν, ἀλλὰ φέρειν ἕκαστον πινάκιον, ἐν ᾧ γράφειν, εἰ καταδικάζοι ἁπλῶς, τὴν δίκην, εἰ δ᾿ ἀπολύοι  ἁπλῶς, κενόν, εἰ δὲ τὸ μὲν τὸ δὲ μή, τοῦτο διορίζειν· νῦν γὰρ οὐκ ᾤετο νενομοθετῆσθαι καλῶς, ἀναγκάζειν γὰρ ἐπιορκεῖν ἢ ταῦτα ἢ ταῦτα δικάζοντας.

[L] ἐτίθει δὲ νόμον περὶ τῶν εὑρισκόντων τι4 τῇ πόλει συμφέρον, ὅπως τυγχάνωσι τιμῆς, καὶ τοῖς παισὶ τῶν ἐν τῷ πολέμῳ τελευτώντων ἐκ δημοσίου γίνεσθαι τὴν τροφήν, ὡς οὔπω τοῦτο παρ᾿ ἄλλοις νενομοθετημένον· ἔστι δὲ καὶ ἐν Ἀθήναις οὗτος ὁ νόμος νῦν καὶ ἐν ἑτέραις τῶν πόλεων. τοὺς δ᾿ ἄρχοντας αἱρετοὺς ὑπὸ τοῦ δήμου εἶναι πάντας, δῆμον δ᾿ ἐποίει τὰ τρία μέρη τῆς πόλεως· τοὺς δ᾿ αἱρεθέντας ἐπιμελεῖσθαι κοινῶν καὶ ξενικῶν καὶ ὀρφανικῶν.

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not to be de­cided by a s­ imple vote, but every­ one was to have a tablet on which for a s­ imple verdict of condemnation they could propose a penalty, or for straight acquittal leave the tablet blank; but, if for part acquittal and part condemnation, they could give details. His objection to existing legislation is that it puts jurors in a position of being false to their oaths by forcing them to give a verdict one way or other. [L] He also proposed that ­those who discover anything for the good of the state should be rewarded, and that the c­ hildren of t­ hose who die in b ­ attle should be maintained at public expense (he imagined that such a law does not exist, whereas it already exists both in Athens and elsewhere). Officials were to be elected by the ­people, that is, by the three sections of the state mentioned, and t­ hose elected were to supervise the interests of the public, of foreigners, and of orphans.

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[M] τὰ μὲν οὖν πλεῖστα καὶ τὰ μάλιστα ἀξιόλογα τῆς Ἱπποδάμου τάξεως ταῦτ᾿ ἐστίν. ἀπορήσειε δ᾿ ἄν τις πρῶτον μὲν τὴν διαίρεσιν τοῦ πλήθους τῶν πολιτῶν. οἵ τε γὰρ τεχνῖται καὶ οἱ γεωργοὶ καὶ οἱ τὰ ὅπλα ἔχοντες κοινωνοῦσι τῆς πολιτείας πάντες, οἱ μὲν γεωργοὶ οὐκ ἔχοντες ὅπλα, οἱ δὲ τεχνῖται οὔτε γῆν οὔτε  ὅπλα, ὥστε γίνονται σχεδὸν δοῦλοι τῶν τὰ ὅπλα κεκτημένων. μετέχειν μὲν οὖν πασῶν τῶν τιμῶν ἀδύνατον (ἀνάγκη γὰρ ἐκ τῶν τὰ ὅπλα ἐχόντων καθίστασθαι καὶ στρατηγοὺς καὶ πολιτοφύλακας καὶ τὰς κυριωτάτας ἀρχὰς ὡς εἰπεῖν]· μὴ μετέχοντας δὲ τῆς πολιτείας πῶς οἷόν τε φιλικῶς ἔχειν τὴν πολιτείαν; ἀλλὰ δεῖ κρείττους εἶναι τοὺς6 τὰ ὅπλα γε κεκτημένους ἀμφοτέρων τῶν μερῶν. τοῦτο δ᾿ οὐ ῥᾴδιον μὴ πολλοὺς ὄντας, εἰ δὲ τοῦτ᾿ ἔσται, τί δεῖ τοὺς ἄλλους μετέχειν τῆς

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Criticism of Hippodamus’s Proposal [M] ­These are the most striking points in Hippodamus’s constitution. First, one can criticize the division of the citizens into three. If skilled craftsmen, farmers, and soldiers all have a share in ruling but the farmers have no arms and the craftsmen neither arms nor land, this makes the latter effectively the slaves of ­those who bear arms. So the sharing of honors becomes impossible, since the generals, the guardians of the citizens, and nearly all the principal magistrates must be chosen from t­ hose who bear arms. And if the two other classes have no share in ruling, how can they be inclined to re­spect the constitution? But, you may say, ­those who have arms should dominate the other sections. That is not easy u ­ nless they make up the majority. But if that ­were the case, why should the other classes



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πολιτείας καὶ κυρίους εἶναι τῆς τῶν ἀρχόντων καταστάσεως; [N] ἔτι οἱ γεωργοὶ τί χρήσιμοι τῇ πόλει; τεχνίτας  μὲν γὰρ ἀναγκαῖον εἶναι (πᾶσα γὰρ δεῖται πόλις τεχνιτῶν), καὶ δύνανται διαγίγνεσθαι καθάπερ ἐν ταῖς ἄλλαις πόλεσιν ἀπὸ τῆς τέχνης· οἱ δὲ γεωργοὶ πορίζοντες μὲν τοῖς τὰ ὅπλα κεκτημένοις τὴν τροφὴν εὐλόγως ἂν ἦσάν τι τῆς πόλεως μέρος, νῦν δ᾿ ἰδίαν ἔχουσιν καὶ ταύτην ἰδίᾳ γεωργοῦσιν. [O] ἔτι δὲ τὴν κοινήν, ἀφ᾿ ἧς οἱ προπολεμοῦντες ἕξουσι τὴν τροφήν, εἰ μὲν αὐτοὶ γεωργήσουσιν, οὐκ ἂν εἴη τὸ μάχιμον ἕτερον καὶ τὸ γεωργοῦν, βούλεται δ᾿ ὁ νομοθέτης· εἰ δ᾿ ἕτεροί τινες ἔσονται τῶν τε τὰ ἴδια γεωργούντων καὶ τῶν μαχίμων, τέταρτον  αὖ μόριον ἔσται τοῦτο τῆς πόλεως, οὐδενὸς μετέχον ἀλλ᾿ ἀλλότριον τῆς πολιτείας. ἀλλὰ μὴν εἴ τις τοὺς αὐτοὺς θήσει τούς τε τὴν ἰδίαν καὶ τοὺς τὴν κοινὴν γεωργοῦντας, τό τε πλῆθος ἄπορον ἔσται τῶν καρπῶν ἐξ ὧν ἕκα124

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share in rule at all and have power to appoint officials? [N] Secondly, what use are farmers to the state? Skilled workers t­ here must be, for they are needed in e­ very state, and they can support themselves by their skills as they do in other cities. If the farmers w ­ ere ­really ­there to maintain the soldiers, it would be fair to have a share in ruling, but on this scheme their land is private, and they cultivate it for their own benefit. [O] Thirdly, as to the communal land out of which the soldiers are maintained, if they are themselves the cultivators ­there ­will be no such distinction as the legislator intends between farmers and fighters. If ­there are to be cultivators distinct both from the farmers on their private land and from the soldiers, that w ­ ill constitute a fourth class that with share in anything, and so extraneous to the state.  And then, if the same ­people cultivate both their own and

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στος γεωργήσει δύο οἰκίαις, καὶ τίνος ἕνεκεν οὐκ εὐθὺς ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς καὶ τῶν αὐτῶν κλήρων αὑτοῖς τε τὴν τροφὴν λήψονται καὶ τοῖς μαχίμοις παρέξουσιν; ταῦτα δὴ πάντα πολλὴν ἔχει ταραχήν. [P] 1268b22 περὶ δὲ τοῦ τοῖς εὑρίσκουσί τι τῇ πόλει συμφέρον ὡς δεῖ γίνεσθαί τινα τιμήν, οὐκ ἔστιν ἀσφαλὲς τὸ νομοθετεῖν, ἀλλ᾿ εὐόφθαλμον ἀκοῦσαι μόνον· ἔχει γὰρ συκοφαντίας καὶ κινήσεις, ἂν τύχῃ, πολιτείας. ἐμπίπτει δ᾿ εἰς ἄλλο πρόβλημα καὶ σκέψιν ἑτέραν· ἀποροῦσι γάρ τινες πότερον βλαβερὸν ἢ συμφέρον ταῖς πόλεσι τὸ κινεῖν τοὺς πατρίους νόμους ἂν ᾖ τις ἄλλος βελτίων. διόπερ οὐ ῥᾴδιον τῷ λεχθέντι  ταχὺ συγχωρεῖν, εἴπερ μὴ συμφέρει κινεῖν· ἐνδέχεται δ᾿ εἰσηγεῖσθαί τινας νόμων λύσιν ἢ πολιτείας ὡς κοινὸν ἀγαθόν.

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communal land, they ­will be unable to supply a sufficient quantity of produce to maintain two ­house­holds, so why not maintain themselves and the soldiers from the same land and estates? ­There is a lot of confusion in all this. [P] The proposal to reward t­ hose who discover something useful to the state sounds well and good, but it is hazardous ­because it’s likely to encourage rivalry and agitation. This raises another, wider, question: it’s not clear w ­ hether or not changing a country’s law, even if a better one can be found, is a good ­thing at all. If change is a bad t­ hing, we can hardly assent to Hippodamus’s proposal, since someone could introduce a mea­sure on the grounds that that it was for the good of all, but which in fact was deleterious to the laws or to the constitution.



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[A] ἐπεὶ δὲ πεποιήμεθα μνείαν, ἔτι  μικρὰ περὶ αὐτοῦ διαστείλασθαι βέλτιον, ἔχει γάρ, ὥσπερ εἴπομεν, ἀπορίαν. καὶ δόξειεν ἂν βέλτιον εἶναι τὸ κινεῖν· ἐπὶ γοῦν τῶν ἄλλων ἐπιστημῶν τοῦτο συνενήνοχεν, οἷον ἰατρικὴ κινηθεῖσα παρὰ τὰ πάτρια καὶ γυμναστικὴ καὶ ὅλως αἱ τέχναι πᾶσαι καὶ αἱ δυνάμεις· ὥστ᾿ ἐπεὶ μίαν τούτων θετέον καὶ τὴν πολιτικήν, δῆλον ὅτι καὶ περὶ ταύτην ἀναγκαῖον ὁμοίως ἔχειν. σημεῖον δ᾿ ἂν γεγονέναι φαίη τις ἐπ᾿ αὐτῶν τῶν ἔργων, τοὺς γὰρ ἀρχαίους νόμους λίαν ἁπλοῦς εἶναι καὶ βαρβαρικούς· ἐσιδηροφοροῦντό τε γὰρ οἱ Ἕλληνες καὶ τὰς γυναῖκας ἐωνοῦντο παρ᾿ ἀλλήλων, ὅσα τε λοιπὰ τῶν ἀρχαίων ἐστί που νομίμων εὐήθη πάμπαν ἐστίν, οἷον ἐν Κύμῃ περὶ τὰ φονικὰ νόμος ἐστίν, ἂν πλῆθός τι παράσχηται μαρτύρων ὁ

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Distinctions between Domains of Innovation [A] Now that we have touched on this subject, it’s worth ­going into a l­ittle more detail. As I have said, opinions differ, and a case may be made in ­favor of change. In other arts and sciences it has certainly been beneficial; medicine, physical training, and e­ very other art and discipline has innovated on traditional practice. Since politics is a discipline, something similar should apply in this field too. An indication could be provided from the fact that the old laws are very s­ imple and primitive. Greeks used to go about armed, and to buy their brides from each other; and the traces of ancient laws that have survived seem ridicu­ lous, such as the law about hom­i­cide at Cumae, whereby if the accuser can produce a certain number of



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­διώκων τὸν φόνον τῶν αὑτοῦ συγγενῶν, ἔνοχον εἶναι τῷ φόνῳ τὸν φεύγοντα. [B] ζητοῦσι δ᾿ ὅλως οὐ τὸ πάτριον ἀλλὰ τἀγαθὸν πάντες· εἰκός τε τοὺς πρώτους, εἴτε γηγενεῖς ἦσαν εἴτ᾿ ἐκ φθορᾶς τινὸς ἐσώθησαν, ὁμοίους εἶναι καὶ τοὺς τυχόντας καὶ τοὺς ἀνοήτους, ὥσπερ καὶ λέγεται κατὰ τῶν γηγενῶν, ὥστ᾿ ἄτοπον τὸ μένειν ἐν τοῖς τούτων δόγμασιν. πρὸς δὲ τούτοις οὐδὲ τοὺς γεγραμμένους ἐᾶν ἀκινήτους βέλτιον. ὥσπερ γὰρ καὶ περὶ τὰς ἄλλας τέχνας,  καὶ τὴν πολιτικὴν τάξιν ἀδύνατον ἀκριβῶς πάντα γραφῆναι· καθόλου γὰρ ἀναγκαῖον γραφῆναι, αἱ δὲ πράξεις περὶ τῶν καθ᾿ ἕκαστόν εἰσιν.

[C] ἐκ μὲν οὖν τούτων φανερὸν ὅτι κινητέοι καὶ τινὲς καὶ ποτὲ τῶν νόμων εἰσίν. ἄλλον δὲ τρόπον ἐπισκοποῦσιν εὐλαβείας ἂν δόξειεν εἶναι πολλῆς. ὅταν γὰρ ᾖ τὸ μὲν βέλτιον μικρόν, τὸ δ᾿ 130

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witnesses from his own kinsmen the accused is held guilty of murder. [B] In general what is aimed at is the good, not merely the traditional. But primitive men, ­whether they w ­ ere born from the earth or ­were the survivors of some catastrophe, may be supposed to be no better than ordinary, not very intelligent ­people ­today (lack of intelligence was said to be a mark of the earth-­born men), so it would be ridicu­lous to cling to their ideas; and even written laws should not be considered unalterable. As in other disciplines, so in politics, it is impossible for ­every detail to be precisely set down in writing; the general princi­ple has to be stated in writing, but the action taken depends on the par­tic­u­lar case. [C] From ­these considerations it is clear that some occasions and some laws call for change. But from another point of view, ­great caution should be thought required. If the advantage of

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ἐθίζειν εὐχερῶς λύειν τοὺς νόμους φαῦλον, φανερὸν ὡς ἐατέον ἐνίας ἁμαρτίας καὶ τῶν νομοθετῶν καὶ τῶν ἀρχόντων· οὐ γὰρ τοσοῦτον ὠφελήσεται κινήσας ὅσον βλαβήσεται τοῖς ἄρχουσιν ἀπειθεῖν ἐθισθείς. [D] ψεῦδος δὲ καὶ τὸ παράδειγμα τὸ περὶ τῶν τεχνῶν· οὐ γὰρ  ὅμοιον τὸ κινεῖν τέχνην καὶ νόμον· ὁ γὰρ νόμος ἰσχὺν οὐδεμίαν ἔχει πρὸς τὸ πείθεσθαι πλὴν παρὰ τὸ ἔθος, τοῦτο δ᾿ οὐ γίνεται εἰ μὴ διὰ χρόνου πλῆθος, ὥστε τὸ ῥᾳδίως μεταβάλλειν ἐκ τῶν ὑπαρχόντων νόμων εἰς ἑτέρους νόμους καινοὺς ἀσθενῆ ποιεῖν ἐστὶ τὴν τοῦ νόμου δύναμιν. ἔτι δ᾿ εἰ καὶ κινητέοι, πότερον καὶ πάντες καὶ ἐν πάσῃ πολιτείᾳ, ἢ οὔ; καὶ πότερον τῷ τυχόντι ἢ τισίν; ταῦτα γὰρ ἔχει μεγάλην διαφοράν. διὸ νῦν μὲν ἀφῶμεν ταύτην τὴν σκέψιν· ἄλλων γάρ ἐστι καιρῶν.

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a change is minimal, it is dangerous to become accustomed to casually abrogating the law; it would be better to accept some errors on the part of lawmakers and rulers. ­People ­will gain less by making the change than they ­will lose by becoming accustomed to violating authority. [D] The analogy with the arts and sciences is mistaken: alteration in a law is a very dif­fer­ ent ­thing from alteration in an art. The law has no power to secure obedience other than the power of habit, which needs time to take effect, so that a readiness to change from old to new laws weakens the power of the law. And even if we accept that the laws should be changed, should they all be changed in e­ very type of state? And are they to be changed by anybody who likes, or only  by certain persons? That makes a big difference. Let us now leave this discussion; ­there ­will be other occasions to resume it.

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FURTHER READING

Translations Oldfather, C. H. Diodorus Siculus: Library of History. 12 vols. Harvard, MA: Loeb Classical Library, 1967. Olson, S. Douglas. Athenaeus: The Learned Banqueters. 6 vols. Harvard, MA: Loeb Classical Library, 2006. Sinclair, T. A. Aristotle: The Politics. Revised and re-­ presented by Trevor  J. Saunders. Harmonds­ worth: Penguin, 1983. Waterfield, Robin. Aristotle: Physics. Oxford World’s Classics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Aristotle Ackrill, J. Aristotle the Phi­los­o­pher. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981. Bostock, D. Space, Time, ­Matter, and Form: Essays on Aristotle’s “Physics.” Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

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Guthrie, W.K.C. History of Greek Philosophy. Vol 6, Aristotle: An Encounter. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981. Leroi, Armand Marie. The Lagoon: How Aristotle In­ven­ted Science. London: Bloomsbury, 2015.

Ancient Greek Innovation Cuomo, S. Technology and Culture in Greek and Roman Antiquity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. D’Angour, A.  J. The Greeks and the New: Novelty in Ancient Greek Imagination and Experience. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011. Dodds, E. R. The Ancient Concept of Pro­gress, and Other Essays. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1973. Dunn, F. M. Pre­sent Shock in Fifth-­Century Greece. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2007. Lloyd, G.E.R. The Revolutions of Wisdom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

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F urther R eading

Marsden, E. W. Greek and Roman Artillery: Historical Development. Oxford: Clarendon, 1969. Ober, J. Democracy and Knowledge: Innovation and Learning in Classical Athens. Prince­ton, NJ: Prince­ton University Press, 2008. Seaford, R. A. Money and the Early Greek Mind. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Steward, A. Classical Greece and the Birth of Western Art. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008. Zhmud, L. The Origin of the History of Science in Classical Antiquity. Trans. Alexander Chernoglazov. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2006.

Books on Creativity and Innovation Berkun, Scott. The Myths of Innovation. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media, 2010. Christensen, Clayton, et al. Disruptive Innovation: The Christensen Collection. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press, 2011.



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Csikszentmihalyi, Michael. Flow: The Psy­chol­ogy of Optimal Experience. New York: Harper Collins, 2008. Johnson, Steven. Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natu­ral History of Innovation. Harmonds­ worth: Penguin, 2010. Ridley, Matt. How Innovation Works. London: Harper Collins, 2020. Sawyer, R. K. Explaining Creativity: The Science of ­Human Innovation. 2nd  ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

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