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Ways and Means - A Pamphlet On Revenues - I

1. I

2. II

3. III

4. IV

5. V

6. VI

For myself I hold to the opinion that the qualities of the leading
statesmen in a state, whatever they be, are reproduced in the character
of the constitution itself. (1)

(1) "Like minister, like government." For the same idea more fully
expressed, see "Cyrop." VIII. i. 8; viii. 5.

As, however, it has been maintained by certain leading statesmen in
Athens that the recognised standard of right and wrong is as high at
Athens as elsewhere, but that, owing to the pressure of poverty on the
masses, a certain measure of injustice in their dealing with the allied
states (2) could not be avoided; I set myself to discover whether by
any manner of means it were possible for the citizens of Athens to be
supported solely from the soil of Attica itself, which was obviously
the most equitable solution. For if so, herein lay, as I believed, the
antidote at once to their own poverty and to the feeling of suspicion
with which they are regarded by the rest of Hellas.

(2) Lit. "the cities," i.e. of the alliance, {tas summakhidas}.

I had no sooner begun my investigation than one fact presented itself
clearly to my mind, which is that the country itself is made by nature
to provide the amplest resources. And with a view to establishing the
truth of this initial proposition I will describe the physical features
of Attica.

In the first place, the extraordinary mildness of the climate is proved
by the actual products of the soil. Numerous plants which in many parts
of the world appear as stunted leafless growths are here fruit-bearing.
And as with the soil so with the sea indenting our coasts, the varied
productivity of which is exceptionally great. Again with regard to those
kindly fruits of earth (3) which Providence bestows on man season by
season, one and all they commence earlier and end later in this land.
Nor is the supremacy of Attica shown only in those products which year
after year flourish and grow old, but the land contains treasures of
a more perennial kind. Within its folds lies imbedded by nature an
unstinted store of marble, out of which are chiselled (4) temples and
altars of rarest beauty and the glittering splendour of images sacred
to the gods. This marble, moreover, is an object of desire to many
foreigners, Hellenes and barbarians alike. Then there is land which,
although it yields no fruit to the sower, needs only to be quarried
in order to feed many times more mouths than it could as corn-land.
Doubtless we owe it to a divine dispensation that our land is veined
with silver; if we consider how many neighbouring states lie round us
by land and sea and yet into none of them does a single thinnest vein of
silver penetrate.

(3) Lit. "those good things which the gods afford in their seasons."

(4) Or, "arise," or "are fashioned."

Indeed it would be scarcely irrational to maintain that the city of
Athens lies at the navel, not of Hellas merely, but of the habitable
world. So true is it, that the farther we remove from Athens the
greater the extreme of heat or cold to be encountered; or to use another
illustration, the traveller who desires to traverse the confines of
Hellas from end to end will find that, whether he voyages by sea or by
land, he is describing a circle, the centre of which is Athens. (5)

(5) See "Geog. of Brit. Isles." J. R. and S. A. Green, ch. i. p. 7:
"London, in fact, is placed at what is very nearly the geometrical
centre of those masses of land which make up the earth surface of
the globe, and is thus more than any city of the world the natural
point of convergence for its different lines of navigation," etc.
The natural advantages of Boeotia are similarly set forth by
Ephorus. Cf. Strab. ix. 2, p. 400.

Once more, this land though not literally sea-girt has all the
advantages of an island, being accessible to every wind that blows, and
can invite to its bosom or waft from its shore all products, since it is
peninsular; whilst by land it is the emporium of many markets, as being
a portion of the continent.

Lastly, while the majority of states have barbarian neighbours,
the source of many troubles, Athens has as her next-door neighbours
civilised states which are themselves far remote from the barbarians.

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