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ARISTOCRATIA.

aries in its simplest state, and as it was borne and impelled "by human hands, without other assistance. Tn an improved form, the ram was surrounded with iron bands, to which rings were attached for the purpose of suspending it by ropes or chains from a beam fixed transversely1" over it. See the lower figure in the woodcut. By this contrivance the soldiers were relieved from the necessity of sup­porting the weight of the ram, and they could with ease give it a rapid and forcible motion backwards and forwards.

I

The use of this machine was further aided by placing the frame in which it was suspended upon wheels, and also by constructing over it a wooden roof, so as to form a -" testudo " (xeAco^ Kptocpopos, Appian, Bell. Mith. 73 ; testudo arietaria, Vitruv. x. 1.9), which protected the besieging party from the defensive assaults of the besieged. Josephus, who gives a description of the machine (B. J. iii. 7. § 19), adds, that there was no tower so strong, no wall so thick, as to resist the force of this machine, if its blows were continued long enough. The beam of the aries was often of great length, e. g. 80, 100, or even 120 feet. The design of. this was both to act across an intervening ditch, and to enable those who worked the machine to remain in a position of comparative security. A hundred men, or even a

number, were sometimes employed to strike with the beam.

The aries first became an important military engine in the hands of the Macedonians,, at the time of Philip and Alexander the Great, though it was known at a much earlier period. (Comp. Thuc. ii. 76.) Vitravius speaks (I. e.) of Polydus, a Thessalian, in the time of Philip, who greatly improved the machine, and his improvements were carried out still further by Diades and Chaereas, who served in the campaigns of Alexander the Great. The Romans learnt from the Greeks the art of building these machineSj and appear to have employed them for the first time to any considerable extent in the siege of Syracuse in the second Punic v/ar. [helepolis.]

ARISTOCRATIA (apia-roKparta^ a term in common use among Greek writers on politics, though rarely employed by historians, or otherwise than in connection with political theories. It sig­nifies literally " the government of the best men," and as used by Plato, Aristotle, Polybius, &c.. it meant (in reference to a state where political power was not shared by the bulk of the commu­nity, but was in the hands of a privileged class,

ARISTOCRATIA.

existing along with a class personally free, and possessed of civil rights, but excluded from the exercise of the highest political functions) the go­vernment of a class whose supremacy was founded not on wealth merely, but on personal distinction (ottov fj/i] iaovov ir\ovriv^r]V aAAa Kal apicrriv^riv alpovvrai ras ap%as, Aristot. Pol. iv. 5. p. 127, ed. Gottl. 'H apuTTOKparia 3ouA€~cu rfy uTrepo^v aTrove/jL^ij/ ToTs apiffTOis rwv TroAiTcoz', Ibid. p. 128). That there should be an aristocracy, more­over, it was essential that the administration of affairs should be conducted with a view to the promotion of the general interests, not for the ex­clusive or predominant advantage of the privileged class. (Aristot. Pol. iii. 5, p. 83, ed. Gottl. ; Plat. Polit. p. 301, a.) As soon as the government ceased to be thus conducted, or whenever the only title to political power in the dominant class was the possession of superior wealth, the constitution was termed an oligarchy (oAt7<xpxi/a), which, in the technical use of the term, was always looked upon as a corruption (irapetfgatm, Aristot. Pol. iii. 5. p. 84, ed. Gottl.) of an aristocracy. (Comp. Plat. I. c.; Arist. Pol. iv. 3. pp. 117,118, ed. Gottl. iv. 6, apiffTOKparias jap opos apery/, oAiyapxfas <5e TrAoC?-tos.) In the practical application of the term aris­tocracy, however, the personal excellence which was held to be a necessary element was not of a higher kind than what, according to the deeply-seated ideas of the Greeks, was commonly hereditary in families of noble birth (Plat. Men&x. p. 237, a., Cratyl. p. 394, a. ; Aristot. Pol. iv. 6, ^ yap €v~ yeveid ecrnv apxatos irXovros Kal aper^. v. 1, eu'yej/e?? yap elvai sokovgiv ols inrapxzi rrpoyovcov aptrfy Kal TrAoDros), and in early times would be the ordinary accompaniments of noble rank, namely, wealth, military skill, and superior edu­cation and intelligence (comp. Aristot. Pol. iv. 6,

/caAe?j> .... apiffTOKparias 8ia rb juaAAoj/ iraifieiav Kal evytveiav rots ei>7ropa>re-

It is to be noted that the word apHrro-Kparia is never, like the English term aristocracy, the name of a class, but only of a particular political constitution.

On tracing the historical development of aris-tocratical government, we meet with a condition of things which may almost be called by that name in the state of society depicted in the Homeric poems, where we already see the power of the kings limited by that of a body of princes or nobles, such as would naturally arise in the in­fancy of society, especially among tribes in which, from the frequency of wars, martial skill would be a sure and speedy method of acquiring supe­riority. When the kingly families died out, or were stripped of their peculiar privileges, the su­preme power naturally passed into the hands of these princes or chieftains, who formed a body of nobles, whose descendants would of course for the most part inherit those natural, and be also alone in a position to secure those acquired advantages, espe­cially ^warlike skill, which would form their title to political superiority. Some aristocracies thus arose from the natural progress of society: others arose from conquest. The changes consequent on the rise of the Hellenes, and the Thessalian, Boeotian and Dorian conquests in Greece, esta­blished pretty generally a state of things in which we find the political power in the hands of a body of nobles consisting chiefly or entirely of the con­querors, beneath whom is a free population no*

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