Page:The Outline of History Vol 1.djvu/334

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of this difference. Taxation sat lightly on the rich in the oligarchies; the democracies, on the other hand, taxed the rich, and generally paid the impecunious citizen a maintenance allowance and special fees. In Athens fees were paid to citizens even for attending the general assembly. But the generality of people outside the happy order of citizens worked and did what they were told, and if one desired the protection of the law, one sought a citizen to plead for one. For only the citizen had any standing in the law courts. Greek democracy was, in fact, a sort of government by a swarm of hereditary barristers. Our modern idea, that any one in the state is a citizen, would have shocked the privileged democrats of Athens profoundly.[1]

One obvious result of this monopolization of the state by the class of citizens was that the patriotism of these privileged people took an intense and narrow form. They would form alliances, but never coalesce with other city states. That would have obliterated every advantage by which they lived. There would have been no more fees, no more privileges. The narrow geographical limits of these Greek states added to the intensity of their feeling. A man's love for his country was reinforced by his love for his native town, his religion, and his home; for these were all one. Of course the slaves did not share in these feelings, and in the oligarchic states very often the excluded class got over its dislike of foreigners in its greater dislike of the class at home which oppressed it. But in the main, patriotism in the Greek was a personal passion of an inspiring and dangerous intensity. Like rejected love, it was apt to turn into something very like hatred. The Greek exile resembled the French or Russian émigré in being ready to treat his beloved country pretty roughly in order to save her from the devils in human form who had taken possession of her and turned him out.

  1. I do not agree with "hereditary barristers" or "fee-hunting." The Athenian dicasts were not barristers, but judges: they sat in panels (sometimes a panel of some hundreds) and judged. They had to be paid for attendance as judges (don't we pay jurymen?) because it took them away from their work as potters dyers, and stone-masons. Pay was a genuine and good democratic institution; it was just what made possible the ordinary citizen's co-operation in the life of the state, and stopped its business from being the perquisite of the rich. I feel strongly that the text is unjust to Athens. — E. B.
    See Zimmern's Greek Commonwealth, and Barker's Greek Political Theory, pp. 29-30.