The Ancient Library

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§ 22] THE HEROIC MONARCHY. *,7 jfif

I Aristotle starts with the heroic age, and we also must assume it as ' a primary fact for the purpose of following out its subsequent changes' without speculating on ' its antecedent causes and determining conditions4,' while we leave the difficult subject of the government of the tribal community out of view5. Aristotle was aware that other forms of union had preceded the state of the Homeric age, and his account of village settlements and their government at the beginning of the first book is not out of harmony with modern theories. It is important, however, to keep clearly before us that cities were gene­rally formed by the coalescence of several communities: that each, in fact, was a federation of smaller aggregates, which were in many cases tribal unions'. This is a fact of the utmost importance for the comprehension of early constitutions, in which the conflict of city and tribe was waged throughout the whole of the period of aristo­cracies.

"'• •' § 22. The Heroic Monarchy.

The heroic monarchy, as depicted in the Homeric poems, contains both in the powers of government and in the social classes the germs of later forms of consti-

4 Grote ii p. 59—' To conceive absolute beginning or origin is beyond the reach of our faculties: we can neither apprehend nor verify any­thing beyond progress or development or decay.' In pushing our investi­gations back we must ultimately come to facts which defy analysis or explanation. The origin of social classes is one of these facts. Cf. Freeman, Comparative Politics pp. 247 ff.

5 On this see W. W. Fowler, The City State ch. 2. « De Coulanges, La Cite Antique1" pp. 143—4.

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