The Glory That Was Greece

considered to be the type of a Mixed Constitution. From Sparta the Greek historian Polybius applied the same theory to the government of Rome. Thence it was transferred by Montesquieu to the British Constitution, and thus has played, and is playing, an important part in the history of political science. So far as Sparta is concerned, the theory rests upon a false basis. Aristotle was undoubtedly right in terming Sparta an aristocracy, for the Spartiate body itself was a minority and a jealously guarded close corporation. Both the democratic and the monarchical elements in the state were largely an illusion. Moreover, Aristotle did not admit the propriety of applying the term democracy to a state which merely had some choice in the persons by whom it should be governed. “To govern and be governed in turn” was the essence of democracy to Aristotle, and he would certainly have called both the other examples of the Mixed Constitution, ancient

← Page-234 p.235 Page-236 →