Laws eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 837 pages of information about Laws.
pleases strike him with impunity; and let the same regulations hold about women:  let not a woman be allowed to appear abroad, or receive honour, or go to nuptial and birthday festivals, if she in like manner be written up as acting disorderly and cannot obtain a verdict.  And if, when they themselves have done begetting children according to the law, a man or woman have connexion with another man or woman who are still begetting children, let the same penalties be inflicted upon them as upon those who are still having a family; and when the time for procreation has passed let the man or woman who refrains in such matters be held in esteem, and let those who do not refrain be held in the contrary of esteem—­that is to say, disesteem.  Now, if the greater part of mankind behave modestly, the enactments of law may be left to slumber; but, if they are disorderly, the enactments having been passed, let them be carried into execution.  To every man the first year is the beginning of life, and the time of birth ought to be written down in the temples of their fathers as the beginning of existence to every child, whether boy or girl.  Let every phratria have inscribed on a whited wall the names of the successive archons by whom the years are reckoned.  And near to them let the living members of the phratria be inscribed, and when they depart life let them be erased.  The limit of marriageable ages for a woman shall be from sixteen to twenty years at the longest,—­for a man, from thirty to thirty-five years; and let a woman hold office at forty, and a man at thirty years.  Let a man go out to war from twenty to sixty years, and for a woman, if there appear any need to make use of her in military service, let the time of service be after she shall have brought forth children up to fifty years of age; and let regard be had to what is possible and suitable to each.


And now, assuming children of both sexes to have been born, it will be proper for us to consider, in the next place, their nurture and education; this cannot be left altogether unnoticed, and yet may be thought a subject fitted rather for precept and admonition than for law.  In private life there are many little things, not always apparent, arising out of the pleasures and pains and desires of individuals, which run counter to the intention of the legislator, and make the characters of the citizens various and dissimilar:—­this is an evil in states; for by reason of their smallness and frequent occurrence, there would be an unseemliness and want of propriety in making them penal by law; and if made penal, they are the destruction of the written law because mankind get the habit of frequently transgressing the law in small matters.  The result is that you cannot legislate about them, and still less can you be silent.  I speak somewhat darkly, but I shall endeavour also to bring my wares into the light of day, for I acknowledge that at present there is a want of clearness in what I am saying.

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Laws from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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