Page:Aristotle - The Politics, 1905.djvu/14

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6
Introduction

meanings, it is on the other hand often apparent that these criticisms, when the necessary qualifications have been made, are as true of the present as they were of Greece. Of this an illustration may be found in the account of revolutions and their causes which forms the fifth book of the Politics.

The Politics should probably be regarded as an unfinished work. There are not infrequent repetitions ; some subjects which the author promises to treat are never treated ; and we are sometimes at a loss for the connecting link between successive books or parts of the same book. The traditional order of the books is probably not that which Aristotle contemplated, and has been altered by most editors. The present translation follows the order of Bekker s first edition ; the numbering of the books in his octavo edition of 1878 has been given in brackets wherever it differs from that of the first. None of the rearrangements which have been suggested are completely satisfactory. Whichever of them is adopted, the reader will find that positions assumed at an earlier are only proved at a later stage of the argument. The Politics should be treated as a quarry of arguments and theories rather than as an artistically constructed piece of literature. It is best studied by the collection and comparison of all the passages which bear upon the same topic. It is hoped that for this purpose the subject-headings in the Index, which is abridged from that of the translator, may be of service. A brief analysis is prefixed to the translation with the object of explaining the thread of the argument, where such a thread exists, of indicating the natural divisions of the text, and of enumerating the chief topics of discussion.

The thanks of the editor are due to the Master of Balliol for his kindness in revising the proof of this Introduction.

H. W. C. DAVIS.