Quote of the Day
It's another day! You know what that means - more ancient Greece!
Ok, but seriously, this quote puts into perspective the attempt by President Bush and the Congress to overrule the courts in the Terri Schiavo case. The Spartans had it way worse; if it seems rather mild at first, keep reading:
The Spartan constitution, which tradition ascribed to an ancient law-giver, Lycurgus, provided for a government preserving the forms of the old Homeric system. Instead of one king, however, there were two, representing separate families of exalted rank. The Spartan sovereigns enjoyed but few powers and those chiefly of a military and priestly character. A second and more authoritative branch of the government was the council, composed of two kings and twenty-eight nobles sixty years of age and over. This body supervised the work of administration, prepared measures for submission to the assembly, and served as the highest court for criminal trials. The third organ of government, the assembly, approved or rejected the proposals of the council and elected all public officials except the kings. But the highest authority under the Spartan constitution was vested in a board of five men known as the ephorate. The ephors virtually were the government. They presided over the council and the assembly, controlled the educational system and the distribution of property, censored the lives of the citizens, and exercised veto power over all legislation. They had power also to determine the fate of new-born infants, to conduct prosecutions before the council, and even to depose the kings if the religious omens appeared unfavorable. The Spartan government was thus very decidedly an oligarchy. In spite of the fact that the ephors were chosen for one-year terms by the assembly, they were indefinitely re-eligible, and their authority was so vast that there was hardly any ramification of the system which they could not control. Moreover, it should be borne in mind that the assembly itself was not a democratic body. Not even the whole citizen class, which was a small minority of the total population, was entitled to membership in it, but only those males of full political status who had incomes sufficient to qualify them for enrollment in the heavy infantry.
- Edward McNall Burns, Western Civilizations: Their History and Their Culture, pg. 155-156
If you've all grown tired of these quotes, take heart! I'm starting another project which will preclude this deluge for at least a week or so. Of course, it involves the Purpose Driven Life, so maybe by next week you'll be begging to hear about something remotely related to Aristotle!
POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 2:43 AM