Persons of the dialogue: An Athenian stranger - Cleinias, a Cretan
= Note by Elpenor
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This Part: 80 Pages
Cle. To be sure there ought.
Ath. Let us assume, then, that there ought to be servants of the temples, and priests and priestesses. There must also be superintendents of roads and buildings, who will have a care of men, that they may do no harm, and also of beasts, both within the enclosure and in the suburbs. Three kinds of officers will thus have to be appointed, in order that the city may be suitably provided according to her needs. Those who have the care of the city shall be called wardens of the city; and those who have the care of the agora shall be called wardens of the agora; and those who have the care of the temples shall be called priests. Those who hold hereditary offices as priests or priestesses, shall not be disturbed; but if there be few or none such, as is probable at the foundation of a new city, priests and priestesses shall be appointed to be servants of the Gods who have no servants. Some of our officers shall be elected, and others appointed by lot, those who are of the people and those who are not of the people mingling in a friendly manner in every place and city, that the state may be as far as possible of one mind. The officers of the temples shall be appointed by lot; in this way their election will be committed to God, that he may do what is agreeable to him. And he who obtains a lot shall undergo a scrutiny, first, as to whether he is sound of body and of legitimate birth; and in the second place, in order to show that he is of a perfectly pure family, not stained with homicide or any similar impiety in his own person, and also that his father and mother have led a similar unstained life. Now the laws about all divine things should be brought from Delphi, and interpreters appointed, under whose direction they should be used. The tenure of the priesthood should always be for a year and no longer; and he who will duly execute the sacred office, according to the laws of religion, must be not less than sixty years of age - the laws shall be the same about priestesses. As for the interpreters, they shall be appointed thus: - Let the twelve tribes be distributed into groups of four, and let each group select four, one out of each tribe within the group, three times; and let the three who have the greatest number of votes [out of the twelve appointed by each group], after undergoing a scrutiny, nine in all, be sent to Delphi, in order that the God may return one out of each triad; their age shall be the same as that of the priests, and the scrutiny of them shall be conducted in the same manner; let them be interpreters for life, and when any one dies let the four tribes select another from the tribe of the deceased. Moreover, besides priests and interpreters, there must be treasurers, who will take charge of the property of the several temples, and of the sacred domains, and shall have authority over the produce and the letting of them; and three of them shall be chosen from the highest classes for the greater temples, and two for the lesser, and one for the least of all; the manner of their election and the scrutiny of them shall be the same as that of the generals. This shall be the order of the temples.
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