The Ancient Library

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states of modern Europe, but Aristotle expressly includes legislation as one of the functions of the deliberative element3. The correction of Aristotle seems to be a mistake arising from a difference in the point of view: for Aristotle, with the concrete method of thought natural to a Greek, looks to the holders of political power and not to the duties performed by them, and in the following description of oligarchic government I shall follow his classification.

It is characteristic of an oligarchy that ' some men should deliberate about all4,' and from the definition of the deliberative element this principle involves the corollary that some, i.e. a few men, should have supreme power. For ' the deliberative element has authority to decide war and peace, to make and dissolve alliance, to pass laws, to inflict death, exile and confiscation, to elect magistrates and to call them to account5.' A body of men possessing such authority must have been the sovereign power in the state, and I proceed to consider to what element in the oligarchic government sovereignty was most often entrusted. In the aristocracy the chief authority might conceivably be vested in the whole body of the nobles, who would form in this way a small assembly of the privileged, but it was generally wielded by a council of nobles, who might be supposed to repre­sent their order. So in the oligarchy proper 'the delibe­rative power,' though it might be exercised by a small

3 ri> pou\eu6fj.eyon is both legislative and administrative. Laws and law-making are mentioned three times in Pol. vi 14 1298 a. •* Ar. Pol. vi 14 1298 a 34. '/&. 1298a4, ' •

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