Reflections on the Rise and Fall of the Ancient Republicks: Adapted to the Present State of Great Britain

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C. P. Wayne, 1806 - 335
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Plutarch takes notice of a very remarkable law of Solon's,1 "which declared every man infamous, who, in any sedition or civil dissension in the state, should continue neuter, and refuse to side with either party." Aulus Gellius,2 who gives a more circumstantial detail of this uncommon law, affirms the penalty to be "no less than confiscation of all the effects, and banishment of the delinquent." Cicero mentions the same law to his friend Atticus,3 and even makes the punishment capital, though he resolves at the same time not to conform to it under his present circumstances, unless his friend should advise him to the contrary. Which of these relators has given us the real penalty annexed to this law by Solon, is scarce worth our inquiry. But I cannot help observing, that strange as this law may appear at first sight, yet if we reflect upon the reasons of it, as they are assigned by Plutarch and A. Gellius, it will not appear unworthy of that great legislator.

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