Is Aristotle’s account of different “nations” in these pictures an example of “biological determinism” and of

Posted: December 30th, 2021

198BOOK 7. CHAPTER 7this sort of aggrandizement should not possess a trading center of this sort.(s) Since we see at present many territories and cities having ports and har-bors that are naturally well positioned in relation to the city, so that they nei-35 ther form part of the same town nor are overly far away, but are dominatedby walls and other fortifications of this sort,” it is evident that if any goodthing results from such access, this will be available to the city, while any-thing harmful can be guarded against easily by means of laws that stipulateand define which sorts of persons should and which should not have deal-ings with one another.40(6) Concerning naval power, it is not unclear that it is best to have a cer-1327btain amount of it. They should be formidable and capable of putting up a de-fense by sea as well as by land not only for themselves but also for certain oftheir neighbors. (7) Concerning the extent and size of this force, one must5look to the way of life of the city. If it is going to have a way of life that in-volves leadership and is political, it must necessarily have this sort of poweravailable as well to match its actions. Cities will not necessarily have the over-population that occurs in connection with the seafaring mass: these should10be no part of the city. (8) The marine element” is free and belongs to the in-fantry; this is in authority and dominates the crew. And if there is availablea multitude of subjects” who farm the territory, there will necessarily be anabundance of sailors too. We see this too in certain cities at present, as for ex-15ample the city of the Heracleots, which sends out many warships in spite ofbeing more modest in size than other cities.”Concerning territory, harbors, cities, and the sea, and concerning navalpower, then, let our discussion stand in this manner.CHAPTER 7(1) Concerning the political multitude, we spoke earlier of what its defin-20ing principle ought to be; let us speak now of what quality of persons they27 . Piracus, the port of Athens, stood some five miles from the city, but was con-nected to it by long walls, and its harbors were fortified against attack by sea. Megara,Corinth, and other cities with important maritime interests had similar arrangements.28 . That is, heavy-armed troops embarked on ships as “marines.”29 . That is, agricultural serfs (as in Sparta, Crete or Thessaly).30 . This argument is meant to answer a possible objection to the possession of na-val power deriving from the experience of Athens, where the manpower requirementsof the fleet had greatly increased the political strength of the lower classes (cf. 4.4. 21,5 .4.8 ).

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