The Ancient Library
 

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CHAPTER II. the causes of constitutional change.

§ 13. The Variety of Greek Constitutions,

it would be difficult to assign a cause for the countless variety of constitutions that were to be found in the different Hellenic communities. The fact that each city formed an independent state and pursued its own political development made constitutional experiments easy and frequent; and'the character of the Greeks and their political ability ensured an originality and diversity in these experiments.

'Infinite time,' says Plato, 'is the maker of cities'; and the origin of the old traditional monarchies and aris­tocracies is as difficult to trace in Greece as elsewhere. Many Greek states could, however, set dates to the in­vention of their constitutions: they recorded the time when some lawgiver cleared away the fabric of the old institutions to build up a new government on new prin­ciples that broke entirely with the past. Moreover the Greek cities could not all boast prehistoric foundations : the colonies, which sporadically diffused Greek influence from the eastern shores of the Pontus to Massalia, from Thrace to Libya, were planted at dates which the Greeks

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