Classical Quarterly 69 (2):585-596 (2019)

Mor Segev
University of South Florida
At Pol. 7.12, 1331a19–20, Aristotle states it as a matter of fact that the citizenry of the best city should be divided into ‘public messes’. His primary concern in the rest of the chapter is to uncover the optimal way in which syssitia should be organized, and the way in which they should be situated in relation to other facilities, public buildings, agorai and temples in the city. The proposed plan is roughly as follows. Syssitia would be divided into three main sections. First, the syssitia of soldiers would be held at the guardhouses located at strategic points along the walls surrounding the city. Next come ‘the most supreme syssitia of the magistrates’ and the syssitia ‘of the priests’. These would be held at a place appropriately having ‘an appearance directed at establishing virtue and [being] more strongly positioned than the neighbouring parts of the city’, that is, the highest place in the city. This envisioned acropolis would also house temples. Situated below it would be the ‘free agora’, which would include gymnasia and would be generally directed at leisurely activity. Finally, below the free agora, a ‘necessary agora’ and buildings of officials entrusted with legal, commercial and municipal duties would be established, at a location conducive to importing and exporting goods.
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DOI 10.1017/s0009838819000995
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The Politics of Aristotle.W. L. Newman - 1889 - Mind 14 (55):405-414.

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