The Ancient Library

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§ 29] aristotle's division of oligarchies. 107

evidence on the different categories of oligarchies or aris­tocracies, but I have not been able to avoid cross divisions, and many particular constitutions might be classed under more than one of the subdivisions. The 'aristocracy of birth and land' includes in some cases the ' aristocracy of conquest' or ' the aristocracy of kingly family': aristo­cracies, when narrowed and degenerate, become ' dynastic governments'; but it has seemed the best course to discuss all the forms to which we find allusion made in our authorities.

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,j9i» <&, ^ 29. Aristotle's Division of Oligarchies.

Aristotle enumerates and defines four forms of oli­garchy1, and distinguishes also aristocracy2 and polity3, defined as mixed constitutions, the one inclining to oli­garchy, the other to democracy4.

The classification is neither scientific nor exhaustive; its value lies in the recognition of the principle of de­gree5. ' The broad object which Aristotle had in view,' as Mr Newman says8, ' was to uproot the general impres­sion that there are but two or three constitutions, and that oligarchy and democracy have each of them only one

1 The four forms are enumerated in Pol. vi 5 1292 a 38 and defined with more detail ib. 6 1293 a 11. In this section I shall not quote more particular references, and it must be assumed that I am referring to these passages unless other references are given.

* Aristocracy in its different forms is defined ib. 7 1293 b 1 ff.

» Polity is defined ib. 9 1293 a 35 ff.

« Ib. 8 1293 b 36.

8 Cf. Plato Rep. viii 551 B vbiwv rlBevrai Spov to\(t«(os rofd/4«xo( irXijflof xfH^T^'t °5 &* luOtXar dXiyapx<a, TX&r, o5 S' i[r (Xarroi'.

* Introduction, p. 494.

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