The Ancient Library

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CHAPTER IV. varieties of oligarchy.

§ 28. Principles of Classification.

we have seen in the preceding chapters that whether we study the character of constitutions or whether we trace their historical development, there is a clear prin­ciple of separation between the aristocracy of birth and the oligarchy of wealth. But in discussing the organisa­tion of government, the division of political functions and the details of political institutions, we can no longer keep the two constitutions apart: on the one hand the character of oligarchical institutions can only be understood by tracing their original type as it existed in the aristocratic state, on the other hand there is so general a similarity between the forms and method of the two governments that it would be idle to consider one apart from the other. Except in so far as different qualifications for citizenship or other variations of principle separate them, they will be treated in common.

We must first arrive at some principle by means of which different forms of oligarchical government may be distinguished. Oligarchy is the government of ' a part1,'

1 Cf. Thuc. vi 39 1, Athenagoras says ^yii 5^ <f»iiu irpurra fj£v S^^ov ^ifiirav uvofi6.a-9cu, 6\iyapxla.v Si fit pas. In ii 37 Pericles says of Athens lK<urros...ovK diri

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