The Ancient Library

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tution1. We find that the orders of society are divided almost as definitely as castes, and these must be accepted as established institutions, the origin of which, like the origin of classes in general, is beyond our power to explain. The king and the chiefs form together the first class of nobles. The king is supreme in power and honour, but he differs from the other chiefs only in degree, not in kind*. King and nobles share the knowledge and practice of law and the science of things divine. The king is the chief leader in war, the nobles are the great warriors fighting from their chariots in front of the host of the commons, who hurl their weapons from a distance.

But king and nobles are separated by a broad distinc­tion from the two other classes. Of these the general mass of freemen, practising different crafts3 or cultivating their own lots of land, rank next in importance. Below them come the poor freemen, Thetes, working for hire, chiefly on the lands of other men4. They were paid in

1 I assume that the picture of government and society presented by Homer corresponded in the main with the actual state of Greece in the so-called 'Achaean' period. There is an excellent sketch of Homeric Society in Grote Part i ch. 20.

2 The nobles like the king are called /3o<riXi}« and dvaxrct, while the superior degree of the kingly race is declared by the title jSaff(X<i/re/>os (II. ii 101; ix 160) or /3a<riXei/raTos (xx 34). In Cyprus ia historical times the actual kings were called pcuriXtu, their kindred dca/tres (Aristotle F. H. G. ii 203); fScurMSai was the name of the nobility in some states.

3 SyiuoffrfoL

4 Photius s.v. 0jjs defines them as o! ?c«a Tpo<fnjs SouXoJoires. On these and the other class see Grote ii pp. 97—100.

The classes in Homer correspond with the general division of •estates' in the European nations. Bluntschli, Theory of the State (Engl. Tram.) pp. 113 ff., distinguishes (1) The priests and nobles (who in some states formed two separate classes), (2) the freemen, who as a rule

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