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Apostolos Pierris







The crucial nexus of issues relating to the diversity, the basic types of the variety, the principle of division and the cause of differentiation of the constitutions is treated repeatedly in the course of Aristotle's Politics. The resulting overall picture has appeared to some as in significant respects incogruous, if not downright incoherent. The familiar device of genetic development has been invoked to explain analytically the phaenomenon; yet the development usually postulated in such cases turns out to be mechanical change of opinion rather than organic growth and spermatic evolution. However, a more "unitarian" interpretation comes nearer to the expected truth of the matter.
The subject concerns virtually all major aspects of Aristotelian philosophy and affects significantly their construal. For a full discussion of the general methodological issue cf. E. Schuetrumpf, Die Analyse der Polis durch Aristoteles, esp. pp.287-326. However, the proof of any "unitarian" interpretation lies in its effective existence. For, after all, the satisfy at once, when explaining a philosophical doctrine, the criteria of accuracy (or truthfulness to detail), naturalness (or truthfulness in spirit) and completed unitariness (or thruthfulness to the organic coherent wholeness of living and thought) is certainly better than to fail in the latter requirement. Success in the more difficult task of integrating all evidence (with ideally no remainder) into one consistent, systematic account, bears the conspicuous insignia of enhanced plausibility at least. In fact, that a theory can be thus integrated is a powerful reason that it is so. In "Ὅρος Πολιτείας and τέλος πόλεως" in the first volume of this edition, a systematization of Aristotle's political philosophy is concisely presented in its fundamental overall articulation. Here, a central problem, that of the character and cause of variety in constitutional formations, is examined in more detail, with the purpose of putting some flesh in that skeleton-structure.
The inquiry will proceed in three sections corresponding to the three parts of Politics:
A) Ἡ πρώτη μέθοδος περὶ πολιτειῶν (principally Book Γ);
B) Περὶ ἀρίστης πολιτείας (Η, Θ);
and C). Ἡ Δευτέρα μέθοδος περὶ τῶν πολιτειῶν (Δ, Ε and Ζ).
That this sequence answers to Aristotle's intention is argued in the Appendix following at the end.

A) The theme is first introduced and examined in Book Γ, 6-9. As Constitution is the political form of a society, the structure, that is, of rule and government in it, constitutional analysis consists in the study of directive power in the state, especially of the ultimate organ of all authority in it. Constitutional form is about any kind of dominion, in particular about sovereignty in political society. Γ6, 1278b8-10: ἔστι δὲ πολιτεία πόλεως τάξις τῶν τε ἄλλων ἀρχῶν καὶ μάλιστα τῆς κυρίας πάντων. (Cf. Rhetorica A8, 1365b27). What is suggested a little before the present passage, in Γ3, 1276b2-9, regarding the nature of constitution, that it is a sort of form arising out of the composition and type of order and harmony valid in a given society, is in fact consistent with the notion here articulated: the political structure of a state has to do primarily with the fundamental system of regulative authority in it, since the basic political relationship is precisely ruling. Ruling is of different kinds, as has been analyzed in A. Two general types emerge, according to whether the ruler rules for the advantage and benefit of the ruled or of himself. In the latter case, we have Despotism: even in the case of the natural master dominating the natural slave, although here what is adantageous to the master is necessarily beneficial to the slave, yet the master acts for his interest per se, and for the interest of the slave only per accidens, by virtue of the coincidence of the two interests (1278b32-37). On the contrary, in all other social services, like Building and Carpentry, House Economy and family Administration, Medicine, Gymnastics, Steersmanship, the corresponding faculties are exercised primarily and per se for the benefit of those receiving the action, and only secondarily and per accidens for the advantage of the doers themselves, in so far as these can be considered as participating howsoever in the condition of the former (like a doctor healing himself), 1278b37 - 1279a8. Depending on whether political authority resembles the free rule of arts and sciences or despotism, the constitution is right or deviant and flawed. In the first case there obtains genuine justice simpliciter; in the second, merely justice relative to some given constitutional form. In this state the subjects cannot be free individuals; political freedom exists only where the ruler(s) act for the benefit of the ruled citizens. 1279a12-21; φανερὸν τοίνυν ὡς ὅσαι μὲν πολιτεῖαι τὸ κοινῇ συμφέρον σκοποῦσιν, αὗται μὲν ὀρθαὶ τυγχάνουσιν οὖσαι κατὰ τὸ ἁπλῶς δίκαιον, ὅσαι δὲ τὸ σφέτερον μόνον τῶν ἀρχόντων, ἡμαρτημέναι καὶ πᾶσαι παρεκβάσεις τῶν ὀρθῶν πολιτειῶν· δεσποτικαὶ γάρ, ἡ δὲ πόλις κοινωνία τῶν ἐλευθέρων ἐστίν. The deviant constitutions work under the constraint of an inherent contradiction: for citizenship, i.e. full participation in the constitution, implies direct share in the public advantage, whereas a deviant establishment of political power consists precisely in such an organization and systematic order as subserves in itself only the interests of the ruling part of society. Γ7 1279a31-2: ἢ γὰρ οὐ πολίτας φατέον εἶναι τοὺς μετέχοντας (sc. τῆς πολιτείας; Bernays unnecessarily added <μὴ> before μετέχοντας; the sense is anyway evident), ἢ δεῖ κοινωνεῖν τοῦ συμφέροντος.
To this qualitative principle of division among constitutions according to the character of their aim with respect to the citizens of the state, there supervenes the quantitative factor of division according to the number of the sovereign body of rulers in it. The joint application of the qualitative and quantitative principles of division yields the doctrine of the six basic constitutional types, three correct, three deviant. Γ7, 1279a25-31: ἐπεὶ δὲ πολιτεία μὲν καὶ τὸ πολίτευμα σημαίνει ταὐτόν, πολίτευμα δ᾿ ἐστὶ τὸ κύριον τῶν πόλεων, ἀνάγκη δ᾿ εἶναι κύριον ἢ ἕνα ἢ ὀλίγους ἢ τοὺς πολλούς· ὅταν μὲν ὁ εἷς ἢ οἱ ὀλίγοι ἢ οἱ πολλοὶ πρὸς τὸ κοινὸν συμφέρον ἄρχωσιν, ταύτας μὲν ὀρθὰς ἀναγκαῖον εἶναι τὰς πολιτείας, τὰς δὲ πρὸς τὸ ἴδιον ἢ τοῦ ἑνὸς ἢ τῶν ὀλίγων ἢ τοῦ πλήθους παρεκβάσεις. There follows the identification of the places defined through the above scheme with the ordinary acceptations of βασιλεία (we may put it = μοναρχία ἀρίστου πρὸς τὸ κοινὸν συμφέρον], πολιτεία [= πληθοκρατία πρὸς τὸ κοινὸν συμφέρον], τυραννίς [= μοναρχία πρὸς τὸ ἴδιον συμφέρον τοῦ μοναρχοῦντος], ὀλιγαρχία [= ὀλιγοκρατία πρὸς τὸ συμφέρον τῶν εὐπόρων], δημοκρατία [= πληθοκρατία πρὸς τὸ συμφέρον τῶν ἀπόρων]. Γ7, 1279a32-b10.
Certainly, Aristotle makes abundantly clear, already at this early stage of the analysis, that the sixfold division of constitutions by virtue of the qualitative and quantitative principles above indicated is phenomenological and, therefore, preliminary. Aristotle's point is evident for two reasons:
1) Firstly, πολιτεία involves considerable anomaly in the picture. The ruler(s) in kingship and (genuine) Aristocracy is (are) ἄριστος. It is because he possesses human excellence and perfection in its totality (and primarily in its supreme manifestations, theoretical wisdom and practical phronesis), that the ἄριστος κύριος, the ruler replete with human excellence, acts in society for the benefit of all (even though this provides him with the necessary means for the integration of his own eudaemonia, which requires on his part activity in accordance with, and exemplification of, virtue-excellence). But the multitude in πολιτεία (stricto sensu) can only display chiefly a part of human excellence, a particular virtue, namely hoplite-virtue, ability to fight and defend the states interests in war. For perfection is rare, and it is almost a contradiction in terms (anyway, a practical oddity) to speak of a multitude of excellent men. 1279a39-b4: ἕνα μὲν γὰρ διαφέρειν κατ᾿ ἀρετὴν ἢ ὀλίγους ἐνδέχεται, πλείους δ᾿ ἤδη χαλεπὸν ἠκριβῶσθαι πρὸς πᾶσαν ἀρετήν, ἀλλὰ μάλιστα τὴν πολεμικήν· αὕτη γὰρ ἐν πλήθει γίγνεται· διόπερ κατὰ ταύτην τὴν πολιτείαν κυριώτατον τὸ προπολεμοῦν καὶ μετέχουσιν αὐτῆς οἱ κεκτημένοι τὰ ὅπλα. We meet already in Γ7, in the very midst of the theory of the 3+3 constitutions, the idea that after all, the third correct constitution is not so very correct as the former two, something that will be emphasised afterwards in Politics.
2) Secondly, while the original definition of oligarchy and democracy involved reference only to the number of the ruling body (ὀλίγοι – πλῆθος), in this same chapter the opposition of wealthy - poor (εὔποροι - ἄποροι) is introduced as determinative of those constitutional forms; 1279b6 sqq.: ἡ μὲν γὰρ τυραννίς ἐστι μοναρχία πρὸς τὸ συμφέρον τοῦ μοναρχοῦντος, ἡ δ᾿ ὀλιγαρχία πρὸς τὸ τῶν εὐπόρων, ἡ δὲ δημοκρατία πρὸς τὸ συμφέρον τὸ τῶν ἀπόρων· πρὸς δὲ τὸ τῷ κοινῷ λυσιτελοῦν οὐδεμία αὐτῶν.
There is thus need of deeper analysis away from, but not cancellatory of, the phenomenological, towards the essential level. The adequate definition of constitutional types presents certain difficulties; the philosophical inquiry into a given subject, as against merely practical deliberation on it, requires that nothing should be omitted conducive to the entirety of its truth. Γ8, 1279b11-15: δεῖ δὲ μικρῷ διὰ μακροτέρων εἰπεῖν τίς ἑκάστη τούτων τῶν πολιτειῶν ἐστιν· καὶ γὰρ ἔχει τινὰς ἀπορίας, τῷ δὲ περὶ ἑκάστην μέθοδον φιλοσοφοῦντι καὶ μὴ μόνον ἀποβλέποντι πρὸς τὸ πράττειν οἰκεῖόν ἐστι τὸ μὴ παρορᾶν μηδέ τι καταλείπειν, ἀλλὰ δηλοῦν τὴν περὶ ἕκαστον ἀλήθειαν. While tyrannis can be determined straightforwardly as despotic monarchy exercised upon the political society (1279b16-7), over oligarchy and democracy hovers definitional unclarity. Between the determinative propria few - many and wealthy - poor there seems to exist potential clash. If we accept the few - many contrariety as constitutive of the oligarchy - democracy polarity, the question is raised which proper constitutional form is displayed by a state where the wealthy, being in the majority of the citizen population, control political power, or by a state in which a minority comprising the poor citizens governs. Is really the former democratic despite the rule of wealth in it, or the latter oligarchic, irrespective of the rule of the poor? 1279b20-26. The same question, transformed in expression, remains unanswerable in case that the two criteria are combined in one composite definition, for instance that oligarchy is constituted by the rule of wealth, extending over a minority of the citizen-body, and correspondingly for Democracy. To what category do the constitutions described above then fall? The clause appended (1279b33-4: εἴπερ μηδεμία ἄλλη πολιτεία παρὰ τὰς εἰρημένας ἔστιν), points forward to the fuller treatment of the subject in Δ3 (cf. infra). What happens, of course, in reality is that the wealthy are normally few and the poor many. Still the essential trait of oligarchy is rule of the wealthy, although it is also true to say (but per accidens, κατὰ συμβεβηκός), that this means the rule of the few. 1279b34-1280a5: ἔοικε τοίνυν ὁ λόγος ποιεῖν δῆλον ὅτι τὸ μὲν ὀλίγους ἢ πολλοὺς εἶναι κυρίους συμβεβηκός ἐστιν, τὸ μὲν ταῖς ὀλιγαρχίαις τὸ δὲ ταῖς δημοκρατίαις, διὰ τὸ τοὺς μὲν εὐπόρους ὀλίγους, πολλοὺς δ᾿ εἶναι τοὺς ἀπόρους πανταχοῦ (διὸ καὶ οὐ συμβαίνει τὰς ρηθείσας αἰτίας γίνεσθαι διαφορᾶς)· ᾧ δὲ διαφέρουσιν ἤ τε δημοκρατία καὶ ἡ ὀλιγαρχία ἀλλήλων, πενία καὶ πλοῦτός ἐστιν, καὶ ἀναγκαῖον μέν, ὅπου ἂν ἄρχωσι διὰ πλοῦτον, ἂν τ᾿ ἐλάττους ἄν τε πλείους, εἶναι ταύτην ὀλιγαρχίαν, ὅπου δ᾿ οἱ ἄποροι, δημοκρατίαν, ἀλλὰ συμβαίνει, καθάπερ εἴπομεν, τοὺς μὲν ὀλίγους εἶναι τοὺς δὲ πολλούς, εὐποροῦσι μὲν γὰρ ὀλίγοι, τῆς δὲ ἐλευθερίας μετέχουσι πάντες. In the last phrase, a further step is taken. Wealth is positive, but poverty negative, signifying absence of affluent means. The politically relevant common feature of the governing multitude in Democracy is their freedom, since in this constitution all free citizens participate in the Body of ultimate authority, the Sovereign Multitude, wielding political power.  We meet already here the doctrine of constitutional quality (ποιόν) that will be analyzed later on. Of course, ἐλευθερία in an ancient context, means self-belonging in legal sense and self-determination in activity, as opposed to the condition of slavery. The question is treated again in the δευτέρα μέθοδος περὶ πολιτειῶν (Δ3) in causal sociological perspective (cf. infra).
What is, further, also supposed to characterize particularly later developments, the emphasis on the pair oligarchy-democracy as of principal importance in the classification and analysis of existing constitutional forms, is found here in Γ as well. In Γ9, the defining characters (ὅροι, 1280a7) of those two constitutional types are connected to their corresponding dominant conceptions of justice. Justice in Democracy (in so far as governing authority is concerned) is the political equality of those equal or similar in freedom; exactly as Justice in Oligarchy is the political inequality of those unequal in wealth (1280a22-25). Both share the fundamental and true idea that socially just is the equality of the equals and the inequality of the unequals: their common error lying in that they regard the structure and distribution of political power as determined by what is not the essential differentiation (or otherwise) of social existence. For it is human excellence and eudaemonia, the perfection of human nature and its complete manifestation in appropriate activity, and not freedom or wealth, which is the final end of society (conclusion in 1280b29-35). Therefore the distribution of excellence must provide the basis for the structure of political power in a well-built and well-functioning society (1280b39 - 1281a8). Whereas Oligarchy  and Democracy err in their conception of political justice precisely because they substitute for the true final end of human society, i.e. excellence and eudaemonia, partial, at best, purposes and finalities, namely wealth and freedom, which precisely constitute their defining essential characters, their ὅροι. The doctrine of ὅρος πολιτείας is in fact fully operative already in Γ. (Social and political justice as distribution of public honours, powers and goods κατ᾿ ἀξίαν is a theorem of Ethics. The true or faulty understanding of ἀξία as reflecting constitutional variation is also handled similarly in E1, 1301a25-b4; b26-1302a8. See further the treatment in Γ12).
The treatment of the subject under discussion in Γ (in the πρώτη μέθοδος περὶ τῶν πολιτειῶν begins with a phenomenological definition (and corresponding, classification) of constitutional types, proceeds with their analysis, and ends up with real definitions revealing their essential propria. We move from effects to causes. The real definitions are meant to entail the phenomenological ones. Thus prevalence of wealth-finality is regularly expressed politically as rule of the few (since the multitude cannot be rich) and for the few (given that the absence of total excellence from the ruling body bars the complete fusion between self-interest and social interest exemplified only in the best state). Similarly, dominance of freedom - finality implies usually in political terms the rule of the many (since it is only freedom among the relevant factors that is widespread in men) and for the many (because of the rarity of human excellence which alone is willing and able to maintain the identity of its own interest with public welfare). On the other hand, in the constitution whose defining feature is precisely the true End of human life, the best (men) simpliciter rule, and this is the best rule absolutely: it is in the interest of the ἄριστοι the preservation of that constitution, and it is under such constitution where the best rule that society (and therefore all citizens) can achieve its most advantageous state. Such constitution is Aristocracy, with kingship projected as its limiting case founded on an objective circumstance: the existence of a single individual with overwhelming perfection relative to the rest of society.
The Aristotelian πολιτεία is left in an ambivalent light. Initially and phenomenologically it is classified as a constitution where the many rule to the benefit of the entire society. But it turned out that its real definition concentrates on valour and patriotism, the excellence (virtue) of the warrior which may be relatively widespread. Πολιτεία is basically the appropriate political organization of a  community of citizen-soldiers. The virtue defining its character is not complete human perfection, integrating all particular virtues under the culminating achievements of wisdom and phronesis. Hence, Πολιτεία cannot be a correct constitution simpliciter; that its function is geared to the interest of the entire society is therefore left hanging in the air. 
Tyranny is not analysed deeper than its phenomenological definition. We are left with the impression that it is really no constitutional archetype, but merely the work of necessity in disturbed circumstances, political violence exercised for unsocial ends. This unconstitutionality of constitutional tyranny is explicitly confirmed in the last part of Politics, (ΔΕΖ). Δ8, 1293b27-50: τελευταῖον δὲ περὶ τυραννίδος εὔλογόν ἐστι ποιήσασθαι μνείαν διὰ τὸ πασῶν ἥκιστα ταύτην εἶναι πολιτείαν, ἡμῖν δὲ τὴν μέθοδον εἶναι περὶ πολιτείας.

B) Next comes the treatise περὶ τῆς ἀρίστης πολιτείας (ΗΘ). In H8-9 we find the sociological foundation of political organization. As the phenomenological description of constitutional forms has been reduced to basic underlining tendencies expressing a defining value-character, so these determinative values and finalities are now associated to social structures. 
Society as a living whole entails the existence of a number of interconnected functions (ἔργα, πράξεις, ἐργασίαι) and of corresponding parts (μέρη, γένη, μόρια) functioning in the required way. The distinct social functions or activities necessary for the existence of the community as a self-sufficient whole are connected with the following items to which the respective parts of the social organism are attuned (1328b2-23).
(1) τροφή (γεωργοί), 2) τέχναι (τεχνίται), 3) ὅπλα (τὸ μάχιμον), 4) χρημάτων εὐπορία (τὸ εὔπορον), 5) ἱερατεία (ἱερεῖς), and 6) κρίσις περὶ τῶν συμφερόντων καὶ τῶν δικαίων τῶν πρὸς ἀλλήλους (κριταὶ τῶν δικαίων καὶ τῶν συμφερόντων); to which we should add (cf. Newman I p. 97) 7) μισθωτὴ ἐργασία (τὸ θητικόν) from H9, 1329a36, and 8) πράσεις, ὠναί, ἐμπορίαι, καπηλεῖαι (τὸ ἀγοραῖον), 9) λειτουργίαι περὶ τὰς ἀρχὰς (τὸ δημιουργικόν), 10) σύνεσις πολιτικὴ (τὸ βουλευόμενον) from the list in Δ4 1290b39-1291b2. These social (functions and) parts - cultivators, handicraftsmen, warriors, the rich (the landowning and the moneyed class), priests, judges, labourers (wage-earners), traders, administrators, members of deliberative councils and assemblies - although necessary parts of society (without which it cannot exist and maintain itself), are not automatically parts of the constitutional order, i.e. full citizens in a political sense, participating, that is, in political power (1328a21-35). Depending on which of these classes may coincide (with the three classes endowed with political authority, deliberative, judicial, executive), or in other words which combination of them exercises political power in a state, a different constitution is framed. H9 1328b24 sqq.: λοιπὸν σκέψασθαι πότερον πᾶσι κοινωνητέον πάντων τούτων (ἐνδέχεται γὰρ τοὺς αὐτοὺς ἅπαντας εἶναι καὶ γεωργοὺς καὶ τεχνίτας καὶ τοὺς βουλευομένους καὶ δικάζοντες), ἢ καθ᾿ ἕκαστον ἔργον τῶν εἰρημένων ἄλλους ὑποθετέον, ἢ τὰ μὲν ἴδια τὰ δὲ κοινὰ τούτων ἐξ ἀνάγκης ἐστιν, οὐκ ἐν πάσῃ δὲ ταὐτὸ πολιτείᾳ. Καθάπερ γὰρ εἴπομεν, ἐνδέχεται καὶ πάντας κοινωνεῖν πάντων καὶ μὴ πάντας πάντων ἀλλὰ τινὰς τινῶν, ταῦτα γὰρ καὶ ποιεῖ τὰς πολιτείας ἑτέρας· ἐν μὲν γὰρ ταῖς δημοκρατίαις μετέχουσι πάντες πάντων, ἐν δὲ ταῖς ὀλιγαρχίαις τοὐναντίον. This last idea gives a broader aspect to the issue: it is not only a question of those social classes that "communicate" with the political power statuses (deliberative, judiciary, administrative), but further a certain social openness in Democracy whereby different functions can be, in principle at least, freely practised by the same individual, as against a general tendency towards closeness in Oligarchy, with minimal and strongly selective intercommunion among the distinct social activities which provide the component elements in the overall working of society. In particular, Democracy is defined now by the participation of all social parts in the governing political strata, whereas in Oligarchy only the wealthy (landowning and moneyed) class wields political power. Polity, we have already seen in the πρώτη μέθοδος, is characterised by the political authority of the soldier - citizen (the small and medium landowner, as it will be shown in the δευτέρα μέθοδος), it is in the last analysis a warrior-state of the middling class with landholding basis. Furthermore, the field is opened, and the tool provided, for an analysis of political organization beyond the basic constitutional types, into variations, gradations and mixtures of types, into inter-types, sub-types and composite-types. In fact, this line of development is precisely pursued in the next and final group of books, ΔΕΖ. But in ΗΘ the subject is ἀρίστη πολιτεία: in it all the classes are excluded from political power and (even) citizenship (for citizenship is in fact defined by participation in government of society) except the landowning, the warrior, and the priestly groups which coincide with the ruling élite consisting of perfect and completely integrated specimens of humanity, men wise and phronimoi and virtuous, excelling in all capacities of human nature. The identity of these superior classes is absolute, with only temporal differentiation intervening, so that the same individuals when young are warriors, when mature excercise the government of the state, and when older become priests, performing the necessary service to the Gods (H9).
The sociological analysis of political organization explains constitutional diversity by the preponderance of various social classes in the exercise of political power. The division of social working into the fundamental functions required for life, maintenance and self-sufficiency of the social organism (of the human integral community) is a necessary fact of reality, and so it is the existence of social groupings in classes or parts. However, a further question concerns the justification and justice of that reality. This division of social labour (activity) is indeed objectively demanded for even the existence, let alone the effective working of society, but why is not the ensuing social structure (particularly in connexion with the best arrangement in the ἀρίστη πολιτεία) an unjust necessity, satisfying only the needs of the superior caste of excellence, in contradistinction to the basic requirement for the structure of the best constitution, that it should be such as to subserve the interest and procure the best advantage to the entire community? Given the absolutely teleological nature of reality according to Aristotle, one should expect the coincidence of the real with the ideal order in this respect, too. And indeed, the variety of social groupings rests on the solid basis of the diversity of human types, which in its turn proceeds from the differing degree in which men, in actual fact, are able to realize the perfection of human nature. Partial and inferior actualization of perfect human entelechy produces the useful variety of accomplishments in diverse required fields, and this constitutes different types of human life, different aptitudes to social work, and, consequently, different social groupings, whose differing intercommunion with the power-functions shapes different constitutions. Thus in natural teleology even defect in the parts subserves organically (the relative or, in the case of ἀρίστη πολιτεία, absolute) perfection in the whole, and objective shortcomings, under appropriate arrangement, are turned to best effect (Cf. Excursus III). H8, 1328a35-b2: ἡ δὲ πόλις κοινωνία τίς ἐστι τῶν ὁμοίων, ἕνεκεν δὲ ζωῆς τῆς ἐνδεχομένης ἀρίστης. ἐπεὶ δ᾿ ἐστὶν εὐδαιμονία τὸ ἄριστον, αὕτη δὲ ἀρετῆς ἐνέργεια καὶ χρῆσίς τις τέλειος, συμβέβηκε δὲ οὕτως ὥστε τοὺς μὲν ἐνδέχεσθαι μετέχειν αὐτῆς τοὺς δὲ μικρὸν ἢ μηδέν, δῆλον ὡς τοῦτ᾿ αἴτιον τῷ γίγνεσθαι πόλεως εἴδη καὶ διαφορὰς καὶ πολιτείας πλείους· ἄλλον γὰρ τρόπον καὶ δι᾿ ἄλλων ἕκαστοι τοῦτο θηρεύοντες τούς τε βίους ἑτέρους ποιοῦνται καὶ τὰς πολιτείας.

C) In the last part of Politics (Books ΔΕΖ) the subject of constitutional diversity is being taken up exactly where it has been left in H8-9: τοῦ μὲν οὖν εἶναι πλείους πολιτείας αἴτιον ὅτι πάσης ἐστι μέρη πλείω πόλεως τὸν ἀριθμόν (Δ3, 1289b27-8).In fact there is explicit reference back to H8-9 in Δ3, 1290a1-2 (v. Excursus I), precisely with regard to the analysis of society into necessary elements or parts, according to the required constituent functions or activities. The idea of the sociological basis of political differentiation is then articulated, 1290a3 sqq.: τούτων γὰρ τῶν μερῶν ὁτὲ μὲν πάντα μετέχει τῆς πολιτείας ὁτὲ δ᾿ ἐλάττω ὁτὲ δὲ πλείω. φανερὸν τοίνυν ὅτι πλείους ἀναγκαῖον εἶναι πολιτείας, εἴδει διαφερούσας ἀλλήλων· καὶ γὰρ ταῦτ᾿ εἴδει διαφέρει τὰ μέρη σφῶν αὐτῶν. πολιτεία μὲν γὰρ ἡ τῶν ἀρχῶν τάξις ἐστί (i.e. the system of political power) ταύτην δὲ διανέμονται πάντες ἢ κατὰ τὴν δύναμιν τῶν μετεχόντων (he with preponderant social influence exercising more political power) ἢ κατὰ τιν᾿ αὐτῶν ἰσότητα κοινὴν (like equality in poverty or wealth or freedom), λέγω δ᾿ οἷον τῶν ἀπόρων ἢ τῶν εὐπόρων ἢ κοινήν τιν᾿ ἀμφοῖν (the last clause should not be athetized). ἀναγκαῖον ἄρα πολιτείας εἶναι τοσαύτας ὅσαι περ τάξεις κατὰ τὰς ὑπεροχάς εἰσι καὶ κατὰ τὰς διαφορὰς τῶν μορίων (which classes wield what power). This sociological cause of constitutional diversity raises the question of the fundamental constitutional types in this perspective: the real analysis of the cause of variation has effects on the essential nature of the variation which have to be compared to the results of the preliminary phenomenological description in Γ. The common opinion, Aristotle explains (Δ3, 1290a13-24), is to consider as basic two forms (Oligarchy and Democracy), and look on the others as variations of, or divergences from, the basic ones (Aristocracy as a kind of Oligarchy, Polity as a kind of Democracy), similarly to the case of the winds where the fundamental distinction is taken to be that between North and South winds, whereas the rest are conceived as modifications of those directions (and so, in particular, even the western, or perhaps the NW, wind (ζέφυρος) is thought of as a limiting case of Northern Wind, while the SW wind (εὖρος, strictly speaking from the direction of the winter solstice sunrise) is looked upon as a kind of South Wind. (Cf. e.g. the table of the winds from the Physics of Nicephorus Blemmydes in codex Harleianus 5622 reproduced in V. Rose, Anecdota Graeca et Graecolatina ad p. 26. The reason for the above adduced connexions is explained by Aristotle, Meteorologica, B, 364a19 sqq. Cf. ibid. 361a6 and Theophrastus Fr. 5.2 Wimmer. For the doctrine of the two main winds, v. Strabo I, 2, 21 (p. 29 Cas.)). A similar situation obtains in the theory of Harmonics, where the modal diversity is sometimes reduced to the bipolarity of Dorian and Phrygian harmonies, with all the rest considered as species of the principal two. (Cf. Θ7, 1342a28-b14. For a different reduction to three basic modes v. Heracleides Pontikos Fr. 163 Wehrli; cf. Pollux IV, 65). Newman ad 1290a13 correctly compares the idea of two basic Greek dialects (Ionic and Aeolic) in place of the usual four (those with Attic and Doric as well, which the present reductionist view assimilates to the former two respectively); cf. Strabo VIII, 1, 2 p. 333 Cas. The text in the Politics passage under discussion runs as follows (1290a13-24): μάλιστα δὲ δοκοῦσιν εἶναι (sc. τὰς πολιτείας) δύο, καθάπερ ἐπὶ τῶν πνευμάτων λέγεται τὰ μὲν βόρεια τὰ δὲ νότια, τὰ δ᾿ ἄλλα τούτων παρεκβάσεις, οὕτω καὶ τῶν πολιτειῶν δύο, δῆμος καὶ ὀλιγαρχία. Τὴν γὰρ ἀριστοκρατίαν τῆς ὀλιγαρχίας εἶδος τιθέασιν ὡς οὖσαν ὀλιγαρχίαν τινά, καὶ τὴν καλουμένην πολιτείαν δημοκρατίαν, ὥσπερ ἐν τοῖς πνεύμασι τὸν μὲν ζέφυρον τοῦ βορέου, τοῦ δὲ νότου τὸν εὖρον, ὁμοίως δ᾿ ἔχει καὶ περὶ τὰς ἁρμονίας, ὥς φασί τινες· καὶ γὰρ ἐκεῖ τίθενται εἴδη δύο, τὴν δωριστὶ καὶ τὴν φρυγιστί, τὰ δ᾿ ἄλλα συντάγματα τὰ μὲν Δώρια τὰ δὲ Φρύγια καλοῦσιν. μάλιστα μὲν οὖν εἰώθασιν οὕτω ὑπολαμβάνειν περὶ τῶν πολιτειῶν. This was a widespread opinion, particularly among politicians and orators, as Newman well observed, I p. 494 n. 1. But Aristotle firmly rejects it and cannot help agreeing with himself, 1290a24-29: ἀληθέστατον δὲ καὶ βέλτιον ὡς ἡμεῖς διείλομεν, δυοῖν ἢ μιᾶς οὔσης τῆς καλῶς συνεστηκυίας (the ἀρίστη πολιτεία, i.e. genuine Aristocracy and Kingship) τὰς ἄλλας εἶναι παρεκβάσεις, τὰς μὲν τῆς εὖ κεκραμένης ἁρμονίας τὰς δὲ τῆς ἀρίστης πολιτείας, ὀλιγαρχικὰς μὲν τὰς συντονωτέρας καὶ δεσποτικωτέρας, τὰς δ᾿ ἀνειμένας καὶ μαλακὰς δημοτικάς. Aristotle shares the Platonic belief, deeply ingrained in the Greek experience of Limit and luminous Order, that in each field there is one normal state and condition (the best situation), and an infinity of deviations falling under various heads and kinds of, so to speak, inferior and defective archetypes. Here the doctrine is applied even to Harmonics, and certainly to Constitutional theory. The thesis is repeatedly affirmed in this last part of the Politics. E1, 1301a 35-6: ἔχουσι μὲν οὖν τι πᾶσαι δίκαιον, ἡμαρτημέναι δ᾿ ἁπλῶς εἰσιν. (what precedes treats of Democracy and Oligarchy, but these are handled as paramount examples which cover the vast number of actual cases, and which, as has been seen, were commonly considered as the basic constitutional forms. The beginning of the passage refers quite generally to all constitutions, 1301a25-28: δεῖ δὲ πρῶτον ὑπολαβεῖν τὴν ἀρχήν, ὅτι πολλαὶ γεγένηνται πολιτεῖαι πάντων μὲν ὁμολογούντων τὸ δίκαιον καὶ τὸ κατ᾿ ἀναλογίαν ἴσον, τούτου δ᾿ ἁμαρτανόντων, ὥσπερ εἴρηται καὶ πρότερον, i.e. in Γ9 and 12). Political justice consists in sharing to political power κατ᾿ ἀξίαν. Difference in value-principle therefore, implies different conception of communal justice. That the cause of constitutional diversity is variation in the understanding of political justice (E1, 1301a25 sqq.) is consequently perfectly consistent with, in fact tantamount to, the principle of constitutional differentiation according to the dominant value-quality. Prevalent value-finality, conception of political justice and social role go hand-in-hand. (Cf. supra, also Γ9 and Γ12).
That all constitutions but the best are really flawed squares with, and explains, the anomalous position of the Aristotelian Πολιτεία in the πρῶτος λόγος περὶ τῶν πολιτειῶν (Γ), as has been above indicated. Polity is a correct form of constitution, and yet it does not concentrate on highest excellence and integral perfection as supreme value, and complete eudaemonia as ulterior, absolute finality. Such anomaly is shared also by the "so-called Aristocracies" (καλοῦνται ἀριτοκρατίαι, Δ7, 1293b9; ὀνομαζόμεναι ἀριστοκρατίαι, Δ9, 1294b41; ἃς καλοῦσιν ἀριστοκρατίας, Δ11, 1294a31; καλούμεναι ἀριστοκρατίαι, Ε7, 1307a12), whose three main types are defined in general terms in 1293b7-21. The central values that have emerged from the preliminary discussion in Γ for Oligarchy and Democracy (namely wealth and freedom), complemented by the ultimate value for genuine Aristocracy (excellence - virtue), provide the three fundamental defining characteristics of constitutional formations. The prevalence of all three characterises one type of so-called Aristocracy (as in Carthago), another type consists in the primacy of excellence together with either of the other two (as in the Spartan Constitution which is a mixture of genuine Aristocracy and Democracy). Finally, a third type is an oligarchically oriented Polity (when, for instance, the main warrior force in the state is the cavalry; cf. Δ3 1289b33-40; Z7, 1321a8-11; E6, 1306a35. The social basis for this is predominance of big landowning). Great care should be taken in such blendings and syntheses; for a flaw in it starts the process of decomposition and transition into corresponding deviant forms; E7 1307a7 sqq.: ἀρχὴ γὰρ (sc. of the dissolution of Polities and so-called Aristocracies) τὸ μὴ μεμεῖχθαι καλῶς ἐν μὲν τῇ πολιτείᾳ δημοκρατίαν καὶ ὀλιγαρχίαν, ἐν δὲ τῇ ἀριστοκρατίᾳ ταῦτά τε καὶ τὴν ἀρετήν, μάλιστα δὲ τὰ δύο. λέγω δὲ τὰ δύο δῆμον καὶ ὀλιγαρχίαν. ταῦτα γὰρ αἱ πολιτεῖαί τε πειρῶνται μιγνύναι καὶ αἱ πολλαὶ τῶν καλουμένων ἀριστοκρατιῶν. διαφέρουσι γὰρ τῶν ὀνομαζομένων πολιτειῶν αἱ ἀριστοκρατίαι τούτῳ, καὶ διὰ τοῦτ᾿ εἰσὶν αἱ μὲν ἧττον αἱ δὲ μᾶλλον μόνιμοι αὐτῶν· τὰς γὰρ ἀποκλινούσας μᾶλλον πρὸς τὴν ὀλιγαρχίαν ἀριστοκρατίας καλοῦσιν, τὰς δὲ πρὸς τὸ πλῆθος πολιτείας. The reason of this tendency to associate oligarchizing Polity with aristocratic preoccupations is expounded in the revealing passage, Δ8, 1293b 33 sqq.: ἔστι γὰρ ἡ πολιτεία ὡς ἁπλῶς εἰπεῖν μίξις ὀλιγαρχίας καὶ δημοκρατίας. εἰώθασιν δὲ καλεῖν τὰς μὲν ἀποκλινούσας ὡς πρὸς τὴν δημοκρατίαν πολιτείας, τὰς δὲ πρὸς τὴν ὀλιγαρχίαν μᾶλλον ἀριστοκρατίας διὰ τὸ μᾶλλον ἀκολουθεῖν παιδείαν καὶ εὐγένειαν τοῖς εὐπορωτέροις… ἔτι δὲ δοκοῦσιν ἔχειν οἱ εὔποροι ὧν ἕνεκεν οἱ ἀδικοῦντες ἀδικοῦσιν· ὅθεν καὶ καλοὺς κἀγαθοὺς καὶ γνωρίμους τούτους προσαγορεύουσιν. ἐπεὶ οὖν ἡ ἀριστοκρατία βούλεται τὴν ὑπεροχὴν ἀπονέμειν τοῖς ἀρίστοις τῶν πολιτῶν, καὶ τὰς ὀλιγαρχίας εἶναί φασιν ἐκ τῶν καλῶν κἀγαθῶν μᾶλλον.  So-called Aristocracies are constitutional forms in which excellence shares with some other value the highest axiological position or, at least, in which Polity is more heavily weighted in favour of the preeminent (ãíþñéìïé) few with a view to an effective control of licentiousness in the multitude, although the few excell here not on accomplishments and perfection of human nature, but rather in wealth (but here, too, some intensification or extension of the excellence involved maybe at work, as with the knights versus the hoplites). 
The so-called Aristocracies as well as Polity fail, of course, to realize the ἀρίστη πολιτεία, and, therefore, are in truth flawed constitutional systems, absolutely speaking. Yet, they are not strictly παρεκβάσεις, deviations, digressions, transgressions. Their defect consists in that they do not uphold excellence as the sole focal point of sociopolitical organization, but either contaminate it by associating its function to the operation of other value-principles (wealth, freedom as in the so-called Aristocracies of the first two types), or restrict it to an unintegrated inferior part (valour, soldierly spirit, fighting science, military accomplishments, patriotism, as in Polity, or, with further admixture of wealth-prominence, in the third type of so-called Aristocracy). The difference between these constitutions (both faulty and non-deviant) and the others (Tyranny, Oligarchy, Democracy) consists in that the former still involve (albeit not exclusively) excellence and the true, ultimate end of human life in their top valuation, or at least a partial excellence constitutes the center of gravity in their social fields; whereas with the real deviations, a re-orientation of society's goals occurs, away from the true finality of human life, towards erroneous Ends, Ends, that is, other than the utmost perfection of human nature and its unimpeded functioning and activity. (Cf. E7, 1307a5 sqq.: λύονται δὲ μάλιστα αἵ τε πολιτεῖαι καὶ αἱ ἀριστοκρατίαι (Polities and so-called Aristocracies are evidently meant) διὰ τὴν ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ πολιτείᾳ τοῦ δικαίου παρέκβασιν). Thus the former group may be seen as approximations to the best polity under given restrictive circumstances (principally, the inaptitude and unsuitability of the human matter available); and as tending, by an intermediate but superior in-formation of the social matter, to the full realization of the ultimate social End (namely eudaemonia of perfect manhood) in the appropriate organizational setting, i.e. in ἀρίστη πολιτεία. On the contrary the latter group represents not proximations to, but rather divergences from, the right End. It is like following the correct direction but failing to reach the final point, in the one case; while moving away in a wrong direction in the other. And the wrong direction results from taking what merely but unavoidably accompanies or restricts excellence in the former approximation group as principal value of the second deviation-group. Or, equivalently, the chief external feature of the former is divested of its real and potent point, and is preserved under a substantial re-alignment of axiological priorities. Thus from Polity deviates Democracy (rule of the spirited many becomes rule of the free many), from Aristocracy (and proximately from so-called Aristocracy) diverges Oligarchy (the rule of the prominent few - where prominence involves partly, at least, full excellence - becomes the rule of the prominent wealthy). This stratification of constitutions into flawed but non-deviant and downright deviant ones, which latter deviate from corresponding ones of the superior former stratum, is the doctrine of Δ8, 1293b22-27: λοιπὸν δ᾿ ἐστὶν ἡμῖν περί τε τῆς ὀνομαζομένης πολιτείας εἰπεῖν καὶ περὶ τυραννίδος. ἐτάξαμεν δ᾿ οὕτως οὐκ οὖσαν οὔτε ταύτην (sc. τὴν ὀνομαζομένην πολιτείαν) παρέκβασιν οὔτε τὰς ἄρτι ρηθείσας ἀριστοκρατίας (i.e. the so-called Aristocracies), ὅτι τὸ μὲν ἀληθὲς πᾶσαι (sc. the so-called Aristocracies and Policy) διημαρτήκασι τῆς ὀρθοτάτης πολιτείας, ἔπειτα καταριθμοῦνται (sc. τῶν παρεκβεβηκυιῶν, from παρέκβασιν above, and with reference to Tyranny in the beginning; the passage explains precisely why Polity and the so-called Aristocracies are examined in a context where deviant constitutions are treated), εἰσί τ᾿ αὐτῶν (sc. of the various aristocratic constitutions and of πολιτείαι) αὗται (sc. αἱ παρεκβεβηκυῖαι) παρεκβάσεις, ὥσπερ ἐν τοῖς κατ᾿ ἀρχὴν εἴπομεν (sc. in Γ7). Naturally proper and prime Aristocracy is the ἀρίστη πολιτεία, e.g. Δ7, 1293b18: ἀριστοκρατίας μὲν οὖν παρὰ τὴν πρώτην τὴν ἀρίστην πολιτείαν ταῦτα δύο εἴδη καὶ τρίτον etc. As to Tyranny, it has been observed that it lies at the threshold of being a proper constitution anyway. To the extent that it is, it transposes (in its purer type) the immense preeminence of absolute King (παμβασιλεύς) over the rest of society with regard to complete human perfection, to such a distancing in other respects (e.g. wealth, prowess in war etc.). This results, as has been explained, in political violence, violence (Despotism) being the essential mark of Tyranny in all its forms (Δ10).
The peculiar position of Polity (and so-called Aristocracy) as indicated in the above treated passage at the beginning of Δ8, has been prepared at the start of the δεύτερος λόγος περὶ πολιτειῶν (= ΔΕ), in Δ1-2. This last part of Politics begins with a general statement about the unity of knowledge (science) regarding Norm and Divergence in any field (examplified in the case of Gymnastics), which then is immediately applied to Political Science. Thus it is first stated that in all complete knowledge of any field or genus, as in Gymnastics, it is the object of one and the same science to consider:
1) what is generically, specifically and particularly adapted to the entities in that field or under that genus (what kind of exercise is to the benefit of what kind of body);
2) what is the best condition for the nature in question (what is the best athletic regimen appropriate for the body which is best constituted by nature and best circumstanced);
3) what is the best arrangement for most entities in the field (what type of exercise is to the best advantage in common for most of the healthy bodies); and,
4) what is suitable for the maintenance of the existing state in some entity of the given field without planning for its improvement (what is the appropriate regimen for a body not meant to achieve even the degree of perfection possible for it, but only to preserve its condition as long as possible).
Δ1, 1288b10 sqq.: ἐν ἁπάσαις ταῖς τέχναις καὶ ταῖς ἐπιστήμαις ταῖς μὴ κατὰ μόριον γινομέναις, ἀλλὰ περὶ γένος ἕν τι τελείαις οὔσαις, μιᾶς ἐστι θεωρῆσαι (1) τὸ περὶ ἕκαστον γένος (Spengel athetised [γένος] not without reason; the point is that a complete science of a certain γένος entails knowledge about every specific or individual case falling under it; γένος here may be an inadvertent scribal repetition from the γένος before; on the other hand γένος here might signify kind) ἁρμόττον, οἷον ἄσκησις σώματι ποία τε ποίῳ συμφέρει, καὶ (2) τίς ἀρίστη (τῷ γὰρ κάλλιστα πεφυκότι καὶ κεχορηγημένῳ τὴν ἀρίστην ἀναγκαῖον ἁρμόττειν), καὶ (3) τίς τοῖς πλείστοις μία πᾶσιν (καὶ γὰρ τοῦτο τῆς γυμναστικῆς ἔργον ἐστίν), ἔτι (4) δ᾿ ἐάν τις μὴ τῆς ἱκνουμένης (= προσηκούσης; v. Bonitz, Index Aristotelicus, 341b56)  ἐπιθυμῇ μήθ᾿ ἕξεως μήτ᾿ ἐπιστήμης τῶν περὶ τὴν ἀγωνίαν, μηθὲν ἧττον τοῦ παιδοτρίβου καὶ τοῦ γυμναστικοῦ παρασκευάσαι γε καὶ ταύτην ἐστι τὴν δύναμιν. This is of general application; 1288b19-21: ὁμοίως δὲ τοῦτο καὶ περὶ ἰατρικὴν καὶ περὶ ναυπηγίαν καὶ ἐσθῆτα καὶ περὶ πᾶσαν ἄλλην τέχνην ὀρῶμεν συμβαῖνον. Then follows the application to Politics. It belongs to the same science to study:
a) the best Constitution absolutely, society organized as we should pray for and without external hindrance;
b) the best Constitution adapted to a given society (in case that the human matter involved cannot assume the utter perfection of human nature; still there is a best condition attainable for any given community); 
c) the best arrangement suitable for the preservation (as long as possible), as against the amelioration, of any given sociopolitical structure; this "best" arrangement is neither the best absolutely (a) nor the best relatively to a given social matter (b);
d) the best form capable of being assumed in most cases; the common best, so to speak.
Δ1, 1288b21 sqq.: ὥστε δῆλον ὅτι καὶ πολιτείαν τῆς αὐτῆς ἐστιν ἐπιστήμης τὴν ἀρίστην (a) θεωρῆσαι τίς ἐστι καὶ ποία τις ἂν οὖσα μάλιστ᾿ εἴη κατ᾿ εὐχὴν μηδενὸς ἐμποδίζοντος τῶν ἐκτός, καὶ (b) τίς τίσιν ἁρμόττουσα (πολλοῖς γὰρ τῆς ἀρίστης τυχεῖν ἴσως ἀδύνατον, ὥστε τὴν κρατίστην τε ἁπλῶς καὶ τὴν ἐκ τῶν ὑποκειμένων ἀρίστην οὐ δεῖ λεληθέναι τὸν ἀγαθὸν νομοθέτην καὶ τὸν ὡς ἀληθῶς πολιτικόν), ἔτι δὲ (c) τρίτην τὴν ἐξ ὑποθέσεως (δεῖ γὰρ καὶ τὴν δοθεῖσαν δύνασθαι θεωρεῖν, ἐξ ἀρχῆς τε πῶς ἂν γένοιτο, καὶ γενομένη τίνα τρόπον ἂν σῴζοιτο πλεῖστον χρόνον· λέγω δὲ οἷον εἴ τινι πόλει συμβέβηκε μήτε τὴν ἀρίστην πολιτεύεσθαι πολιτείαν ἀχορήγητόν τε εἶναι καὶ τῶν ἀναγκαίων, μήτε τὴν ἐνδεχομένην ἐκ τῶν ὑπαρχόντων, ἀλλά τινα φαυλοτέραν), παρὰ πάντα δὲ ταῦτα (d) τὴν μάλιστα πάσαις ταῖς πόλεσιν ἁρμόττουσαν δεῖ γνωρίζειν. A little afterwards there is mention (1288b37 sqq.) of three of those objects of political science, the ones that involve amelioration and not merely preservation of a given state of affairs: οὐ γὰρ μόνον τὴν ἀρίστην (a) δεῖ θεωρεῖν, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὴν δυνατὴν (b), ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ τὴν ρᾴω καὶ κοινοτέραν ἁπάσαις (c). The ultimate view of the true statesman is the betterment of the human community, and thus he is interested more in the change than in the maintainance of existing defective constitutional forms; 1289a1 sqq.: χρὴ δὲ τοιαύτην εἰσηγεῖσθαι τάξιν ἣν ρᾳδίως ἐκ τῶν ὑπαρχουσῶν καὶ πεισθήσονται καὶ δυνήσονται κινεῖν, ὡς ἔστιν οὐκ ἔλαττον ἔργον τὸ ἐπανορθῶσαι πολιτείαν ἢ κατασκευάζειν ἐξ ἀρχῆς, ὥσπερ καὶ τὸ μεταμανθάνειν ἢ μανθάνειν ἐξ ἀρχῆς. In Δ11, 1296b2-12 we have the distinction between the κοινοτέρα ἀρίστη πολιτεία (the constitution best for most) which is the subject of the chapter (v. 1295a25-6) on the one hand, from the constitution advantageous καθ᾿ ὑπόθεσιν, that is, given a certain definitional character whose continuance is to be secured, and, ultimately, a particular social group in whose interest the constitution is planned and maintained, the constitution best for some (ἑνίοις); (1296b7 sqq.) ἀεὶ γὰρ ἀναγκαῖον εἶναι βελτίω τὴν ἐγγύτατα ταύτης (sc. nearest to the before analysed κοινοτέρα ἀρίστη, best-for-most), χείρω δὲ τὴν ἀφεστηκυῖαν τοῦ μέσου πλεῖον (for it has been shown that the best-for-most constitution is Polity, a middling constitution), ἂν μὴ πρὸς ὑπόθεσιν κρίνῃ τις. λέγω δὲ τὸ πρὸς ὑπόθεσιν, ὅτι πολλάκις οὔσης ἄλλης πολιτείας αἱρετωτέρας ἐνίοις οὐδὲν κωλύει συμφέρειν ἑτέραν μᾶλλον εἶναι πολιτείαν. (Πρὸς ὑπόθεσιν means, as Newman remarked ad 1296b9, in relation to a given presupposition). There follows in Δ12 the inquiry into the (b)-type of question, τίς πολιτεία τίσι καὶ ποία συμφέρει ποίοις (1296b13).
It is clear that the correspondence between the number and the letter series above (with regard to Δ1) is as follows (with the natural order in Latin numbers):
2 = a = I
1 = b = III
4 = c = IV
3 = d = II
The Polity described in Δ9 is not so much strictly and in essence a mixture of Oligarchy and Democracy, since it belongs to the former stratum of approximation - constitutions, while the supposed components are deviation - constitutions. But the defining principles of the latter (wealth and freedom) are blended harmoniously in the former. It is a tool of analysis to describe Polity by noticing its composition from specific oligarchical and democratic arrangements, composition which is of three types (1294a35-b13). In any case, the blending must be such as to make the resulting interfusion appear equally oligarchical and democratic: which is preeminently characteristic of the middle course everywhere, with both extremes seeming to exist in it; 1294b14 sqq.: ὁ μὲν οὖν τρόπος τῆς μείξεως οὗτος· τοῦ δ᾿ εὖ μεμεῖχθαι δημοκρατίαν καὶ ὀλιγαρχίαν ὅρος, ὅταν ἐνδέχηται λέγειν τὴν αὐτὴν πολιτείαν δημοκρατίαν καὶ ὀλιγαρχίαν. δῆλον γὰρ ὅτι τοῦτο πάσχουσιν οἱ λέγοντες διὰ τὸ μεμεῖχθαι καλῶς· πέπονθε δὲ τοῦτο καὶ τὸ μέσον, ἐμφαίνεται γὰρ ἑκάτερον ἐν αὐτῷ τῶν ἄκρων.  The sociological analysis of Polity in Γ7, 1279a39-b4, gave the citizen-soldier warrior class (τὸ προπολεμοῦν, οἱ κεκτημένοι τὰ ὅπλα) as the ruling status in it. The sociological analysis of the best-for-most constitution in Δ11 is keyed precisely on the principle of the mean (ἡ μέση πολιτεία, which is the same with ἡ διὰ τῶν μέσων πολιτεία, 1296a7-9). For μέση πολιτεία cf. Ἀθηναίων πολιτεία XIII, 4; Isocrates, Panathenaicus, 153; Plutarchus, Solon, XIII, 2. Οἱ μέσοι are those between the rich and the poor, the middle class (1295b1-3). They form precisely the great bulk of the soldier-citizenry of an ancient city; in fact the cavalry is for the wealthy knights, the great landowners; the poor on the other end are lightly equipped, if at all, in battle. The prevalence of the middle class secures a permanent Polity, Δ12, 1296b38 sqq.: ὅπου δὲ τὸ τῶν μέσων ὑπερτείνει πλῆθος ἢ συναμφοτέρων τῶν ἄκρων ἢ καὶ θατέρου μόνον, ἐνταῦθ᾿ ἐνδέχεται πολιτείαν εἶναι μόνιμον in the strict sense; cf. 1297a6-7). Thus the sociological criterion and the defining principle cohere into the same constitutional form which is phenomenologically projected as the rule of the many, endowed with partial excellence, and serving the interest of the entire state; we have to do with the virtue of the valorous patriotism in the soldier-citizen body. The peculiar position of Polity, evident already in Γ, has been explained: Polity is the best constitution, not absolutely, but relative to most cases of human self-supportable congregation. Its value-principle and social basis are identified and found, naturally, to harmonize.
The same congruity between defining character and social basis obtains in the analysis of the τίς – τίσι question, what constitution is adapted to which human community. This subject is treated in Δ12. The formulation of a general answer to the question involves the projection of the ultimate social values construed as defining characters of corresponding constitutional forms onto the level of the social parts or groups, as their respective essential property. The antagonism of social classes coincides then with a conflict of values. There are two aspects in social phenomena, one extensive one intensive, one quantitative the other qualitative. This pertains to every necessary function (ἔργον, πράξις) in society and corresponding group or class. The number of the members of society involved in the performance of such a necessary function, or, in other words, the numerical power of each class, constitutes its quantity (ποσόν). The supreme value operative in that function and adhered to by that class, is expressed as their quality (ποιόν). The basic social qualities are four: freedom, wealth, culture, nobility. 1296b17-19: ἔστι δὲ πᾶσα πόλις ἔκ τε τοῦ ποιοῦ καὶ τοῦ πσοῦ. λέγω δὲ ποιὸν μὲν ἐλευθερίαν, πλοῦτον, παιδείαν, εὐγένειαν, ποςὸν δὲ τὴν τοῦ πλήθους ὑπεροχήν. Παιδεία represents the excellence - factor (ἀρετή), the highest peak of human perfection, the complete entelechy of man. Εὐγένεια consists in ἀρετὴ γένους, excellence of descent (Γ13, 1283a37). Ultimately it is reducible to wealth and excellence, Δ8, 1294a19-22: ἐπεὶ δὲ τρία ἐστὶ τὰ ἀμφισβητοῦντα τῆς ἰσότητος τῆς πολιτείας, ἐλευθερία, πλοῦτος, ἀρετὴ (τὸ γὰρ τέταρτον, ὃ καλοῦσιν εὐγένειαν, ἀκολουθεῖ τοῖς δυσίν· ἡ γὰρ εὐγένειά ἐστιν ἀρχαῖος πλοῦτος καὶ ἀρετή) etc. E1, 1301b3: εὐγενεῖς γὰρ εἶναι δοκοῦσιν οἷς ὑπάρχει προγόνων ἀρετὴ καὶ πλοῦτος. The argument why those four (or rather three) qualities are relevant in a political setting is carried in Γ12, against the background of the fundamental issue respecting political justice as distribution of political authority and domination according to social equalities and inequalities. (V. esp. 1282b23-1283a22; cf. further Δ13, which continues the general argumentation).
The quantitative distribution over social classes of the politically relevant qualities with the degree of intensity which they actually display, gives the general pattern of qualitative preponderance, which again defines the society's overall axiological and political character, purer or more mixed as the case may be. The best constitution for the particular community is thereby determined, not only in its general type (e.g. Democracy), but also in its specific kind (the first form of Democracy, for instance, if the multiplication, so to speak, of quantity times quality for each group or part, and its integration over the whole of the social field, shows of preponderant social weight the class of land cultivators). Δ12, 1296b19-34.
The doctrine of the defining principle (ὅρος πολιτείας) as the supremest value of constitutions was prepared, as has been shown, in πρώτη μέθοδος (Γ). In fact it appears already in Ethics; EN E, 1131a24-29: ἔτι ἐκ τοῦ κατ᾿ ἀξίαν τοῦτο (sc. the proportionality of justice) δῆλον· τὸ γὰρ δίκαιον ἐν ταῖς νομαῖς (in distributions) ὁμολογοῦσι πάντες κατ᾿ ἀξίαν τινὰ δεῖν εἶναι, τὴν μέντοι ἀξίαν οὐ τὴν αὐτὴν λέγουσι πάντες [ὑπάρχειν], ἀλλ᾿ οἱ μὲν δημοκρατικοὶ ἐλευθερίαν, οἱ δ᾿ ὀλιγαρχικοὶ πλοῦτον, οἱ δ᾿ εὐγένειαν, οἱ δ᾿ ἀριστοκρατικοὶ ἀρετήν. ἔστιν ἄρα τὸ δίκαιον ἀνάλογόν τι. The expression ὅρος πολιτείας carries its full weight: it signifies the essential proprium of the constitutional form in question; cf. B9, 1271a35. The term was Platonic, Respublica, H, 551A-B. Ὅρος as essential definition in Γ13, 1283b28; Δ11, 1295a39; cf. Δ9, 1294a35. Principle, chief characteristic and essential point, H2, 1324b4; the implication is essential definition with a view to a certain finality; H15, 1334a12; E11, 1314a25; H13, 1331b36. Defining aspects, determining factors, in Δ15, 1300a11; 16, 1300b15. In 1294b15 it is understandably used in a broader and looser sense, as determining mark or criterion. In Γ9, 1280a7, where we meet the expression for the first time in connexion with general constitutional theory, the context is the same with that of the passage in EN: a question of the differing conceptions of political justice in various constitutions. In Δ8, 1294a9 sqq. it is again the same point; clearly ὅρος is the essential character and definitional mark, the constitutive determining principle of a πολιτεία. (Cf. Z2, 1317b11; 14). It is clear that ὅρος πολιτείας refers to the cause and essence of the identity of a certain constitutional form, as against phenomenological properties, which, after all, prove not to be true propria under closer analysis. Δ8, 1294a9 sqq.: δοκεῖ δὲ ἀριστοκρατία μὲν εἶναι μάλιστα τὸ τὰς τιμὰς νενεμῆσθαι κατ᾿ ἀρετήν· ἀριστοκρατίας μὲν γὰρ ὅρος ἀρετή, ὀλιγαρχίας δὲ πλοῦτος, δήμου δ᾿ ἐλευθερία· τὸ δ᾿ ὅ,τι ἂν δόξῃ τοῖς πλείοσιν, ἐν πάσαις ὑπάρχει. καὶ γὰρ ἐν ὀλιγαρχίᾳ καὶ ἐν ἀριστοκρατίᾳ καὶ ἐν δήμοις, ὅ,τι ἂν δόξῃ τῷ πλείονι μέρει τῶν μετεχόντων τῆς πολιτείας, τοῦτ᾿ ἐστὶ κύριον. The majority principle is not an essential feature of Democracy; it is strictly speaking valid in all constitutional forms (with the limiting case exception of kingship). It turns out to be really a question of who is (full) citizen of a state, exercising political power. And this brings up the point of the distributional pattern of potent citizenship to the social classes, and the principle of the corresponding predominant quality as constitutive of the Πολιτεία in question. Aristotle never intended the phenomenological, preliminary delineations in the 3+3 theory of constitutions, to be his final word on the scientific (causal and essential) explanation of political structures. (Cf. in primis, Δ4, 1290a30-b20). 
The determining principle of a constitutional form is the highest value in it (pure or mixed), which governs the functioning of the social organism. This has a clearly social basis. The sociological dimension is emphatically brought to the foreground by Aristotle both in the discussion of the ἀρίστη πολιτεία (H8-9), and as a basis for the analysis of all other constitutions as well (Δ4, 1290b21-1291b30). In the latter passage the methodology is explained by a, characteristically, organic parallel, the division of animal kinds in the light of distinction of animal parts. The definition of an animal as a living creature implies a number of characteristic necessary functions, without any of which a being cannot possess life and be an animal. Such functions postulate correlative parts. A kind of animal is defined by a certain integrated arrangement of such parts conducive to the best exercise of corresponding faculties, to the best display and operation of the constitutive functions. A full list of the possible stable compositions of those fundamental parts, exhausts the possible variety of animal life, provides the complete set of animal species. Obviously this analysis can proceed on a more generic or more specific level. 1290b25-38: ὥσπερ οὖν εἰ ζῴου προῃρούμεθα λαβεῖν εἴδη, πρῶτον ἂν ἀποδιωρίζομεν ὅπερ ἀναγκαῖον πᾶν ἔχειν ζῷον, οἷον ἔνιά τε τῶν αἰσθητηρίων καὶ τὸ τῆς τροφῆς ἐργαστικὸν καὶ δεκτικόν, οἷον στόμα καὶ κοιλίαν, πρὸς δὲ τούτοις, οἷς κινεῖται μορίοις ἕκαστον αὐτῶν – εἰ δὴ τοσαῦτα εἴη μόνον, τούτων δ᾿ εἶεν διαφοραὶ (λέγω δ᾿ οἷον στόματός τινα πλείω γένη καὶ κοιλίας καὶ τῶν αἰσθητηρίων, ἔτι δὲ καὶ τῶν κινητικῶν μορίων), ὁ τῆς συζεύξεως τῆς τούτων ἀριθμὸς ἐξ ἀνάγκης ποιήσει πλείω γένη ζῴων (οὐ γὰρ οἷόν τε ταὐτὸν ζῷον ἔχειν πλείους στόματος διαφοράς, ὁμοίως δὲ οὐδ᾿ ὤτων), ὥσθ᾿ ὅταν ληφθῶσιν τούτων πάντες οἱ ἐνδεχόμενοι συνδυασμοὶ ποιήσουσιν εἴδη ζῴου, καὶ τοσαῦτ᾿ εἴδη τοῦ ζῴου ὅσαι περ αἱ συζεύξεις τῶν ἀναγκαίων μορίων εἰσίν  - τὸν αὐτὸν δὲ τρόπον καὶ τῶν εἰρημένων πολιτειῶν. (To this type of deductive argumentation one may compare the derivations at the end of De Anima, in Γ12-13).
Society and its collective working is analyzed into a number of necessary functions and corresponding classes. Each function and class is characterised by some social quality (among the four, or rather three, above mentioned) which represents the highest value in the determinative class-activity; this quality and value is modified in such a peculiar and particular way as to stand for an essential proprium, a particular principle, of the function-class in question. For instance: those that cannot boast of either superior excellence or singular wealth (or high nobility of descent), will esteem most freedom (in which they feel equal to all and justified), and will be jealous of a certain consequent independent-mindedness, whose specific shade will reflect the peculiarity of their social function. Thus freedom for the agricultural cultivator is more serene, natural and stable; for the trader more inquiet, risky, explorative and innovatory; for the craftsman rather inquisitive, positive-minded, interventional; for the (day-) labourer it is unstable, changeful, arbitrary. Preponderance of the agricultural class in a society calls for Democracy of the first type. Δ4, 1291b30-41, with excision of ἄλλο δέ  in b39 as in Immisch' text; Δ6, 1292b25-34: ὅταν μὲν οὖν τὸ γεωργικὸν καὶ τὸ κεκτημένον μετρίαν οὐσίαν κύριον ᾖ τῆς πολιτείας, πολιτεύονται κατὰ νόμους· ἔχουσι γὰρ ἐργαζόμενοι γῆν, οὐ δύνανται δὲ σχολάζειν, ὥστε τὸν νόμον ἐπιστήσαντες ἐκκλησιάζουσι τὰς ἀναγκαίας ἐκκλησίας etc. The other and lower classes can become citizens and potential participators in political power having reached a minimum level of property (a τίμημα) specified by law. Since most of those entitled to power do not enjoy such disengagement from their own necessary business which would enable them to be practically involved in government and the direction of common affairs, this type of Democracy is strongly traditionalistic, with a body of unalterable laws (written and customary) which provides the framework within which well-to-do citizens from the leisure classes mildly and conservatively administer matters of State. To the opposite pole lies Democracy of the fourth type, Δ4, 1292a4-37 and Δ6, 1292b41-1293a10. Here, not only all are unexceptionally proper citizens, but they also actively involve themselves in politics, even the resourceless and poor, because there is pay for public service (allowance, μισθός) available and offered on a permanent basis. Since the higher classes have on the one hand to attend their own businesses or work and leisure-pursuits, and, on the other, are reluctant to be implicated in the running of such an uncongenial system, this Democracy ends up by being an unconstitutional constitution similar to (though apparently in the antipodes of) Tyranny, where not the laws but the decrees of the people rule every aspect of social life and frame state policies. The people means in fact here the needy. 1292b41 sqq.: τέταρτον δὲ εἶδος δημοκρατίας ἡ τελευταία τοῖς χρόνοις ἐν ταῖς πόλεσι γεγενημένη. διὰ γὰρ τὸ μείζους γεγονέναι πολὺ τὰς πόλεις τῶν ἐξ ὑπαρχῆς καὶ προσόδων ὑπάρχειν εὐπορίας, μετέχουσι μὲν πάντες τῆς πολιτείας διὰ τὴν ὑπεροχὴν τοῦ πλήθους, κοινωνοῦσι δὲ καὶ πολιτεύονται διὰ τὸ δύνασθαι σχολάζειν καὶ τοὺς ἀπόρους λαμβάνοντας μισθόν. καὶ μάλιστα δὲ σχολάζει τὸ τοιοῦτον πλῆθος· οὐ γὰρ ἐμποδίζει αὐτοὺς οὐθὲν ἡ τῶν ἰδίων ἐπιμέλεια, τοὺς δὲ πλουσίους ἐμποδίζει, ὥστε πολλάκις οὐ κοινωνοῦσι τῆς ἐκκλησίας οὔτε τοῦ δικάζειν. διὸ γίνεται τὸ τῶν ἀπόρων πλῆθος κύριον τῆς πολιτείας, ἀλλ᾿ οὐχ οἱ νόμοι. In general (Δ6, 1293a17 sqq.): ὅσῳ γὰρ ἂν πλεῖον ἀπέχωσι (sc. the people) τῆς μοναρχίας, καὶ μήτε τοσαύτην ἔχωσιν οὐσίαν ὥστε σχολάζειν ἀμελοῦντες, μήθ᾿ οὕτω ὀλίγην ὥστε τρέφεσθαι ἀπὸ τῆς πόλεως, ἀνάγκη τὸν νόμον ἀξιοῦν αὐτοῖς ἄρχειν, ἀλλὰ μὴ αὐτούς. When in society predominate either the very rich or preeminent in excellence and perfection on the one hand, or the needy in the public Roll for public service on the other end, the constitution tends to abandon the rule of Law for the rule of either the eminent (γνώριμοι) or the poor anonymous multitude. The 4th type of Democracy is adapted to the social preponderance of the labour and artisan classes (θητικὸν πλῆθος and βάναυσοι).
The 2nd and 3rd type of Democracy (Δ4, 1292a1-4; Δ6, 1292b34-41) share with the 1st lack of pay for public administration, but do not impose a τίμημα (level of property) for citizenship; in the former all inhabitants who satisfy certain conditions regarding their ancestry (like going back in indigenous descent to at least three generations, or having both parents legal citizens, or similar) are full citizens; in the latter all free-born natives are full citizens. (By full citizens one understands participators in political power). Government is under traditional Law. So Δ12, 1296b24-31: Ὅπου μὲν οὖν ὑπερέχει τὸ τῶν ἀπόρων πλῆθος τὴν εἰρημένην ἀναλογίαν (the proportion explained just before is the one holding between the respective weight of quality and quantity in the diverse parts of society; by as it were multiplying the intensity of quality to the quantity of each group, a comparison of their relative powers is instituted, as explained above), ἐνταῦθα πέφυκεν εἶναι δημοκρατίαν, καὶ ἕκαστον εἶδος δημοκρατίας κατὰ τὴν ὑπεροχὴν τοῦ δήμου ἑκάστου, οἷον ἐὰν μὲν τὸ τῶν γεωργῶν ὑπερτείνῃ πλῆθος, τὴν πρώτην δημοκρατίαν, ἐὰν δὲ τὸ τῶν βαναύσων καὶ μισθαρνούντων, τὴν τελευταίαν, ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ τὰς ἄλλας τὰς μεταξὺ τούτων. Perhaps we should associate the 2nd type with preponderance of the trading class (ἀγοραῖον πλῆθος), while the 3rd fits in better with the mentality of the commercial and sea interests, the sailor folk and nautical occupations etc. Similar analysis is in order for kinds of Oligarchy, so-called Aristocracies, and mixed constitutional variations. (Cf. e.g.  Δ12, b31-34).
Furthermore, the social stratification can of course be taken note of in greater detail. (V.  Δ4, 1291b17-30). Correspondingly nuanced constitutional forms may be defined. Suggestions and observations on this score are offered in the sequel of the last part of Politics (ΔΕΖ). What concerned us here was the principle of the correspondence between social class-function, social value and defining attribute (as well as essential structure) of appropriate constitutional form.
The announced Aristotelian programme of detailed sociological analysis as solid foundation for constitutional theory via the ὅρος πολιτείας doctrine, has seemed to be at variance, if not incompatible, with the extensive use made in Politics of a simpler phenomenological division of social factors. Instead of social functions (ἔργα), powers (δυνάμεις) and corresponding parts (μέρη, μόρια), we encounter the rough dichotomy of communal parameters into the poor and the wealthy. But this is simply a permissible shorthand, so to speak, in cases where further articulation is unnecessary for the point at hand. The various social powers and functions, as necessary activities in the social nexus, seem to be shared by different groups, the same persons or rank of people being able apparently to act in different ways and thus to participate in different classes. Hence social classes in a concrete state as defined by necessary, elementary power-functions, may overlap and communicate among themselves in so far as their actual membership is concerned, at least in non-caste societies. Yet it is contradictory for the same person to be indigenous and affluent. Poverty and Wealth are mutually exclusive; they divide between themselves the entire community into two separate incommunicable groups. They also substantiate the opposition between the Few and the Many, of such significance in phenomenological Constitutional theory. They finally explain the common (but mistaken, as above attested) idea that there are two basic constitutions, Democracy and Oligarchy. Δ4, 1291b2-13: τὰς μὲν οὖν ἄλλας δυνάμεις τοῖς αὐτοῖς ὑπάρχειν ἐνδέχεσθαι δοκεῖ πολλοῖς, οἷον τοὺς αὐτοὺς εἶναι τοὺς προπολεμοῦντας καὶ γεωργοῦντας καὶ τεχνίτας, ἔτι δὲ τοὺς βουλευομένους τε καὶ κρίνοντας, ἀντιποιοῦνται δὲ καὶ τῆς ἀρετῆς πάντες, καὶ τὰς πλείστας ἀρχὰς ἄρχειν οἴονται δύνασθαι· ἀλλὰ πένεσθαι καὶ πλουτεῖν τοὺς αὐτοὺς ἀδύνατον, διὸ ταῦτα μέρη μάλιστα εἶναι δοκεῖ πόλεως, οἱ εὔποροι καὶ οἱ ἄποροι. ἔτι δὲ διὰ τὸ ὡς ἐπὶ τὸ πολὺ τοὺς μὲν ὀλίγους εἶναι τοὺς δὲ πολλοὺς ταῦτα ἐναντία μέρη φαίνεται τῶν τῆς πόλεως μορίων, ὥστε καὶ τὰς πολιτείας κατὰ τὰς ὑπεροχὰς τούτων καθιστᾶσι, καὶ δύο πολιτεῖαι δοκοῦσιν εἶναι, δημοκρατία καὶ ὀλιγαρχία.
Properly looked at, the supposedly problematic chapters 3 and 4 of Book Δ are perfectly in order. To determine scientifically the exact and complete ramification of constitutional diversity, one must know the cause of that variety. The cause is stated at the beginning of Δ3: it is the fact of the multiplicity of necessary social functions. In the same way, to understand any given constitutional form in detail, one must have grasped the inner principle of its essential identity. Such principle and reason of a specific constitutional structure is the supreme value, and its social carrier, in the society considered. The reason for the variety of constitutions is the variety of necessary social functions. A schematic and indicative account of the latter is given under the headings of δῆμος - γνώριμοι. This is enough to disprove that there is a basic constitutional polarity Democracy - Oligarchy. The γνώριμοι do not constitute a homogeneous social block any more than the δῆμος does. Δ4, 1290b7 sqq.: οὐ μὴν ἀλλ᾿ οὐδὲ τούτοις (sc. by means of the criteria of wealth or freedom) μόνον ἱκανῶς ἔχει διωρίσθαι τὰς πολιτείας ταύτας· ἀλλ᾿ ἐπεὶ πλείονα μόρια καὶ τοῦ δήμου καὶ τῆς ὀλιγαρχίας εἰσίν, ἔτι διαληπτέον etc. Thus simple and partial phenomenological definitions of Democracy (= rule of the multitude or rule of the free) and Oligarchy (= rule of the few or rule of the wealthy) cannot really help in Political Philosophy. A complete definition would combine the commonsensically required attributes, 1290b17 sqq.: ἀλλ᾿ ἔστι δημοκρατία μὲν ὅταν οἱ ἐλεύθεροι καὶ ἄποροι πλείους ὄντες κύριοι τῆς ἀρχῆς ὦσιν, ὀλιγαρχία δ᾿ ὅταν οἱ πλούσιοι καὶ εὐγενέστεροι ὀλίγοι ὄντες.
So far the ground has been cleared for the scientific doctrine. First, the ultimate cause of constitutional diversity has been stated in abstract form: the existence of various social functions (classes). Secondly, taking the general headings of classes (δῆμος - γνώριμοι) as proper classes, we are led to the theory of two basic constitutions (Democracy - Oligarchy). So there are more than one constitution anyway. Thus the constitutional diversity has been concretely established and explained - but not the number and nature of it in detail. The view about the two basic constitutions has been shown untenable. The correct definitions of those two, besides, manifest the restricted area that they cover: there is no place for integral excellence and perfection, or for the (partial) virtue of a soldiery middle class, for other combinations of classes and values, as in a number of renowned constitutions like those of Carthago and Sparta (treated in B), or, finally, for various kinds of Democratic and Oligarchical organization. What, in other words, is further demanded is the reason for the number of constitutions beyond the two before mentioned, as well as the principle of their specific identity.  Aristotle is very clear, Δ4, 1290b21 sqq.: Ὅτι μὲν οὖν πολιτεῖαι πλείους, καὶ δι᾿ ἣν αἰτίαν, εἴρηται· διότι δὲ πλείους τῶν εἰρημένων, καὶ τίνες, καὶ διὰ τί, λέγωμεν ἀρχὴν λαβόντες τὴν εἰρημένην πρότερον· ὁμολογοῦμεν γὰρ οὐχ ἓν μέρος ἀλλὰ πλείω πᾶσαν ἔχειν πόλιν. There follows the already commented methodological exposition (animal organism - social organism), and then the exposition of the sociological foundation of Political Theory. The suspected passage ends with the explanation why, after all, there is considerable point in the schematic polar division, social and constitutional, which is much in use, and to what extent it may indeed constitute a useful tool of analysis. In the sequel, the various kinds of Democracy and Oligarchy are mentioned, first in a political setting (rest of Δ4 and Δ5), then with sociological ground (Δ6). There follows discussion of the so-called Aristocracies, Polity, etc. Without Δ3-4, Aristole's procedure would have been defective indeed, even if we could perhaps not have noticed.
The movement from phenomenological definitions of constitutional forms and variations on the political level to causal definitions involving the sociological ground via the determinative value - principle of specific constitutional structures conforms nicely to the Aristotelian conception of scientific knowledge as passing from descriptive accounts of a thing (corresponding to ὁρισμὸς κατὰ τὸ ὅτι) to aetiological explanations (ὁρισμὸς κατὰ τὸ διότι). One begins usually with beliefs of common or strong or immediate acceptance, with ἔνδοξα of one sort or another treated, accordingly, dialectically; they are, as a result, purified into an adequate phenomenological definition. In the end, the underlying causal connexion emerges, and a scientific truth is thereby established, capable in principle of entering into chains of deductive proof and derivation in some important sense. This process, followed by Aristotle in one convoluted way or another, all through his inquires, represents the manner in which the logical programme of the Organon is actually carried into effect within the various philosophical Disciplines. (Cf. De anima 413a11-20; Analytica Posteriora 93b38-94a14; Metaphysica 1044b9-20).

A final remark is in order. It has been observed that the Aristotelian practice in the last books of Politics (EZ) seems to be at variance with the marked teleology of earlier parts, particularly of ΗΘ, of the λόγος περὶ τῆς ἀρίστης πολιτείας. In EZ political analysis is carried with the avowed aim of determining the laws of constitutional change and stability. Especially in Z, the study of the phenomena and the causes of transformation and permanence in constitutional forms assumes the aspect of regulations being devised suitable for the endurance of any given political system, be it a deviant one. But then the political philosopher helps protracting the existence of a bad organization of social life. This appears to contradict the drive towards perfection inherent in Natural Teleology according to Aristotle, and especially operative in moral and political matters, where the end of life is the focal point in the corresponding power-fields. One may feel inclined to accuse Aristotle of either inconsistency or cynicism. One further is reminded of the cries against his alleged foundation of opportunism or casuism in the application of ethical theory in practice.
However the issue has been fully covered in advance (Δ1). For any given human matter under a certain social form there are two distinct questions to be asked (III and IV, supra) first, how this form should be changed in order for the best possible arrangement in the circumstances to be realized (τὴν ἐκ τῶν ὑποκειμένων ἀρίστην πολιτείαν, 1288b26); and second, how the existing formation can be preserved as long as possible. In responding to this latter problem, one works under a presupposition: the principle, though not the full details, of the existing constitutional form is assumed as the End in itself, and systematic means are deduced for its furtherance and secure prolongation in existence. This is the force of ἐξ ὑποθέσεως (1288b28) in the description of the present inquiry in Δ1. In a certain improper sense, one may even speak of an "amelioration" of the existing constitution in this case; but such "amelioration" is radically different from the proper amelioration which consists in the adoption of that constitutional form which is the best possible in the circumstances (ἐκ τῶν ὑποκειμένων), in which circumstances it is not included the principle of the existing constitution as a presupposition to be retained (καθ᾿ ὑπόθεσιν). The presupposition of a constitution is its value-principle, which governs all its systematic articulation. So we hear of ἐλευθερία as the ὑπόθεσις of democratic constitution; Z2, 1317a40: ὑπόθεσις μὲν οὖν τῆς δημοκρατικῆς πολιτείας ἐλευθερία· τοῦτο γὰρ λέγειν εἰώθασιν, ὡς ἐν μόνῃ τῇ πολιτείᾳ ταύτῃ μετέχοντας ἐλευθερίας· τούτου γὰρ στοχάζεσθαί φασι πᾶσαν δημοκρατίαν. Having said this, Aristotle proceeds to the definition of the essential attributes of the freedom involved (numerical equality of the citizen - participants as against sharing according to merit; life as one wills; for a criticism of this latter, v. E9, 1310a32-36), from which there follows the determination of popular (δημοτικά) measures and arrangements (Z2, 1317b17 sqq.). Hypothesis as principle and spirit of a constitution, its unifying tension which pervades the whole system, determines, binds together and explains all parts, elements and details in it, which makes it a coherent whole. In reality, existing constitutions may show signs of self-contradiction: particular arrangements which contravene their own principle. Thus in B9, 1269a29 sqq. two considerations are proposed with regard to the Lacedaemonian and the Spartan constitutions, first, if and which arrangements in them are instituted in conformity or in abeyance of the best constitutional order, second, if such arrangements exist which run counter to their principle or spirit (ὑπόθεσις) and modality (τρόπος), against their aim and, so to speak, will (προαίρεσις). 1269a29 sqq.: περὶ δὲ τῆς Λακεδαιμονίων πολιτείας καὶ τῆς Κρητικῆς, σχεδὸν δὲ καὶ περὶ τῶν ἄλλων πολιτειῶν δύο εἰσὶν αἱ σκέψεις, μία μὲν εἴ τι καλῶς ἢ μὴ καλῶς πρὸς τὴν ἀρίσην νενομοθέτηται τάξιν, ἑτέρα δ᾿ εἴ τι πρὸς τὴν ὑπόθεσιν καὶ τὸν τρόπον ὑπεναντίως τῆς προκειμένης αὐτοῖς πολιτείας… (1269b12): ἔτι δ᾿ ἡ περὶ τὰς γυναῖκας ἄνεσις καὶ πρὸς τὴν προαίρεσιν τῆς πολιτείας βλαβερὰ καὶ πρὸς εὐδαιμονίαν πόλεως. Cf. further, E11, 1314a38-40; B11, 1273a4-6; B9, 1271a41; Z1, 1317a35-37; H15, 1334b10-12. It should be observed that even for improper "amelioration", some elements of proper amelioration should be adopted, for instance moderation in the practices of extreme Democracy (esp. Z5). For the purpose is not to render a (deviant) constitution most characteristic by accumulating all its features in the utmost intensity and purity - this would be self-destructive; the point is to secure it against dissolution or change for as long as possible. Z5, 1319b33-1320a4: ἔστι δ᾿ ἔργον τοῦ νομοθέτου καὶ τῶν βουλομένων συνιστάναι τινὰ τοιαύτην πολιτείαν (the question is about the ultimate -4th - democracy) οὐ τὸ καταστῆναι μέγιστον [ἔργον] οὐδὲ μόνον, ἀλλ᾿ ὅπως σῴζηται μᾶλλον· μίαν γὰρ ἢ δύο ἢ τρεῖς ἡμέρας οὐ χαλεπὸν μεῖναι πολιτευομένους ὁπωσοῦν. διὸ δεῖ, περὶ ὧν τεθεώρηται πρότερον, τίνες σωτηρίαι καὶ φθοραὶ τῶν πολιτειῶν, ἐκ τούτων πειρᾶσθαι κατασκευάζειν τὴν ἀσφάλειαν, εὐλαβουμένους μὲν τὰ φθείροντα, τιθεμένους δὲ τοιούτους νόμους καὶ τοὺς ἀγράφους καὶ τοὺς γεγραμμένους οἳ περιλήψονται μάλιστα τὰ σῴζοντα τὰς πολιτείας, καὶ μὴ νομίζειν τοῦτ᾿ εἶναι δημοτικὸν μηδ᾿ ὀλιγαρχικὸν ὃ ποιήσει τὴν πόλιν ὅτι μάλιστα δημοκρατεῖσθαι ἢ ὀλιγαρχεῖσθαι, ἀλλ᾿ ὃ πλεῖστον χρόνον.  (Analysis in detail follows). The general formulation of the matter has been given in E9, 1309b18 sqq. A deviation is defined with reference to the norm from which it deviates, but is also intrinsically as such susceptible of the more and less. (Cf. the doctrine of Infinity in the Platonic Philebus). For instance, a snub or a hooked nose deviate from the norm; but precisely in order to retain their snubness or aquilinity as recognizable features with a certain (albeit improper) nature and quasi-perfection of their own (rather than as caricatures or monstrosities) they must not go to the extreme pronouncedness of their constitutive property. Similarly Democracy and Oligarchy, as deviant formations, must not allow the exaggeration of their respective peculiarities to occur; such overshooting will dissolve them. Excess destroys even that which is constituted as an excess relative to the objective norm; excess has to be moderated in order to subsist as excess. 1309b18 sqq.: παρὰ πάντα δὲ ταῦτα δεῖ μὴ λανθάνειν, ὃ νῦν λανθάνει τὰς παρεκβεβηκυίας πολιτείας, τὸ μέσον· πολλὰ γὰρ τῶν δοκούντων δημοτικῶν λύει τὰς δημοκρατίας καὶ τῶν ὀλιγαρχικῶν τὰς ὀλιγαρχίας. οἱ δ᾿ οἰόμενοι ταύτην εἶναι μίαν ἀρετὴν ἕλκουσιν εἰς τὴν ὑπερβολήν, ἀγνοοῦντες ὅτι καθάπερ ρίς ἐστι παρεκβεβηκυῖα μὲν τὴν εὐθύτητα τὴν καλλίστην πρὸς τὸ γρυπὸν ἢ τὸ σιμόν, ἀλλ᾿ ὅμως ἔτι καλὴ καὶ χάριν ἔχουσα πρὸς τὴν ὄψιν, οὐ μὴν ἀλλ᾿ ἐὰν ἐπιτείνῃ τις ἔτι μᾶλλον εἰς τὴν ὑπερβολήν, πρῶτον μὲν ἀποβαλεῖ τὴν μετριότητα τοῦ μορίου, τέλος δ᾿ οὕτως ὥστε μηδὲ ρῖνα ποιήσει φαίνεσθαι διὰ τὴν ὑπεροχὴν καὶ τὴν ἔλλειψιν τῶν ἐναντίων, τὸν αὐτὸν δὲ τρόπον ἔχει καὶ περὶ τῶν ἄλλων μορίων. συμβαίνει δὴ τοῦτο καὶ περὶ τὰς [ἄλλας] πολιτείας. καὶ γὰρ ὀλιγαρχίαν καὶ δημοκρατίαν ἔστιν ὥστ᾿ ἔχειν ἱκανῶς, καίπερ ἐξεστηκυίας τῆς βελτίστης τάξεως· ἐάν δέ τις ἐπιτείνῃ μᾶλλον ἑκατέραν αὐτῶν, πρῶτον μὲν χείρω ποιήσει τὴν πολιτείαν, τέλος δ᾿ οὐδὲ πολιτείαν. διὸ δεῖ τοῦτο μὴ ἀγνοεῖν τὸν νομοθέτην καὶ τὸν πολιτικόν, ποῖα σῴζει τῶν δημοτικῶν καὶ ποῖα φθείρει τὴν δημοκρατίαν, καὶ ποῖα τῶν ὀλιγαρχικῶν τὴν ὀλιγαρχίαν… ὥστε φθείροντες τοῖς καθ᾿ ὑπεροχὴν νόμοις φθείρουσι τὰς πολιτείας. (The idea is repeated concisely in Rhetorica A, 1360a19-30). It is thus evident that knowledge of what is advantageous to any constitution, especially in concrete circumstances, transcends the knowledge of the constitution in itself (if such a knowledge could exist in isolation) and involves science of the entire field within which the constitutional form in question is located. Effective knowledge of a deviant constitution implicates (in order for the required principle of moderation to be applicable) knowledge of the Middle Constitution (Polity, in fact, as the best-for-most constitution), and, further, of the Norm itself relative to which all political theory is articulated, and thus ultimately of the best constitution absolutely. After all causal connexions (and thus scientific knowledge) in Political Philosophy finally rest on sociological analysis, and this is the common ground and framework for the definition of all constitutional forms, from the best Norm to the extremest deviation. It is indeed of the same science to determine (I) the system of ἀρίστη πολιτεία absolutely, (II) the system of best πολιτεία relative to most situations, (III) the system of best possible constitutional form with regard to a given social "matter" and situation (ἐξ ὑποκειμένων) and, even, (IV) the system of best condition of a given constitution(al principle), as it actually exists, (καθ᾿ ὑπόθεσιν). It is another question whether the Political Philosopher would ever apply or advise the application of his knowledge in the fourth way. The Aristotelian answer should be affirmative, in specific circumstances, and only as a means, if the human and social matter available cannot be informed in any higher way for the time being. Stability then of even a deviant constitution might be of help in harmonizing at first degree a discordant community. On the other hand, the shock from the dissolution of an existing deviant constitution running mad (= extreme) could be salutary under certain circumstances. The man of (intellectual) perfection, wise and phronimos, should decide.







In the text of the Politics there is found a number of internal explicit cross-references which provide, if properly construed, safe means of establishing the structure of the work as intended by its author. The resulting order of succession in the transmitted books in which the work consists, securely fixed, provides a powerful incentive, and an effective checking tool, for more "unitarian" interpretations of Aristotle's word and meaning. Instrumental in this objective determination of the correct sequential structure is the expression πρῶτοι λόγοι (and πρώτη μέθοδος). In general, πρῶτοι λόγοι signify an already finished former part of the work in progress of composition (logical if not temporal - though there is no reason to doubt the approximate correspondence in principle of time and constructional progression). However, in the present context, the formula is employed in a particularly revealing way.
Books ABΓ form evidently a group even when looked upon from the point of view of a raisonné table of contents for them. Book Γ is in one respect the last part of the great Introduction of Politics, comprising books A-B-Γ. Book A provides the general setting for the inquiry by delimitating, chiefly negatively, the kind of human association which is political society, the subject of the science of Politics. Book B constitutes the Historical Introduction, involving the study of real or philosophically devised states considered preeminent in excellence. Book Γ offers the first sustained inquiry on fundamental questions of Political Science preliminary to the treatment of Constitutions in detail.
The problems examined are: a) What constitutes citizenship (Chs. 1-2 and 5); b) what is the identity of a political society, state (Ch. 3); c) Does human virtue (excellence) as such coincide with citizen-virtue (excellence)? (Ch. 4). d) Division of constitutions in correct and deviant ones (Ch. 6). e) Division of constitutions according to the number of the rulers, and combination with d (Ch. 7). f) Division of constitutions according to the sovereign class (Ch. 8). g) Differentiation of justice according to Constitution (Ch. 9). h) Who should be sovereign (Ch. 10), in particular the Many or the Best? (Ch. 11). i) Social justice as distribution according to value-excellence; relevant excellences in the distribution of Political Power (Chs. 12-13). j) Adaptation of Constitution to People; example of kingship; rule of Law or of the ἄριστος? (Chs. 14-17). [k) The same kind of Education produces perfect man and perfect citizen and ruler (Ch. 18). - A squeezed in corollary of c (Ch. 4)].
Aristotle called the entire set of the three initial Books πρῶτοι λόγοι. Within that corpus he referred to Book A as πρῶτοι λόγοι: Γ6, 1278b17 sqq: εἴρηται δὴ κατὰ τοὺς πρώτους λόγους, ἐν οἷς περὶ οἰκονομίας διωρίσθη καὶ δεσποτείας etc. (The reference is to A, 2, 1253a1 sqq.). In H3, 1325a30-1 (διώρισται δὲ περὶ αὐτῶν ἱκανῶς ἐν τοῖς πρώτοις λόγοις) the definite reference is to A, 7, 1255b16 sqq. Outside the group, references to πρῶτοι λόγοι seem to be to it as a corpus. (With a further extension of the reference of the expression to cover the greater group ABΓΗΘ, infra). Γ18, 1288a37-38 (ἐν δὲ τοῖς πρώτοις ἐδείχθη λόγοις ὅτι τὴν αὐτὴν ἀναγκαῖον ἀνδρὸς ἀρετὴν εἶναι καὶ πολίτου τῆς πόλεως τῆς ἀρίστης) refers back evidently to the discussion in Γ4-5. This shows both that Γ was included in πρῶτοι λόγοι and that Γ18 is extraneous; Γ18 belongs in substance to the prooemium of H, αs Hildebrand, (Geschichte und System der Rechts - und Staatsphilosophie I, 1860, mentioned in Immisch's edition ad loc.) believed; he thought that Γ18 was discarded by Aristotle as an imperfect rendering.
The anomaly at the end of Γ18 points to sartorial work on the part of the editor with the intention of interposing Books ΔΕΖ in between Γ and H. Book Γ ends in the manuscripts with an incomplete sentence, with which, slightly modified and completed, starts Book H. End of Γ:  Ἀνάγκη δὴ τὸν μέλλοντα περὶ αὐτῆς (sc. τῆς ἀρίστης πολιτείας) ποιήσασθαι τὴν προσήκουσαν σκέψιν. Beginning of H: Περὶ πολιτείας ἀρίστης τὸν μέλλοντα ποιήσασθαι τὴν προσήκουσαν ζήτησιν ἀνάγκη διορίσασθαι πρῶτον etc. The sequence initially before the division at that point would be: Ἀνάγκη δὴ τὸν μέλλοντα περὶ αὐτῆς ποιήσασθαι τὴν προσήκουσαν σκέψιν διορίσασθαι πρῶτον etc. That which ought to be defined at the very beginning of the inquiry is: τίς αἱρετώτατος βίος. This connects naturally with what is said in Γ18 just before the final clauses, namely that it is precisely the αἱρετωτάτη ζωή (1288a37) around which the best polity is focused, a mode of life (παιδεία καὶ ἔθη, 1288b1) which make a man excelling in human perfection both as a man and as a ruler. Hence H began initially with Γ18, directly following the end of Γ17; and this also explains the reference to the three right constitutions (ὀρθαὶ πολιτεῖαι) at the beginning of Γ18, and the transition immediately ensuing to the best cosntitution, the reduction, that is, from the ὀρθαὶ πολιτεῖαι to the ἀρίστη πολιτεία, 1288a32: Ἐπεὶ δὲ τρεῖς φαμεν εἶναι τὰς ὀρθὰς πολιτείας, τούτων δ᾿ ἀναγκαῖον ἀρίστην εἶναι τὴν ὑπὸ τῶν ἀρίστων οἰκονομουμένην etc. When the ancient editor of the Politics decided to divide H from Γ by the interpolation of ΔΕΖ, he cut the text at the end of what is now Γ18, so that this portion may belong now to Γ as it could not fit as a beginning of H after Z. As a result of the cut, the starting sentence had to be rephrased in a way to include explicit mention of "ἀρίστης πολιτείας", which in the old situation was referred to by pronoun, "περὶ αὐτῆς". At the end of Γ18 there now remained a defective remnant of the previously complete sentence, which was treated variously in the manuscript tradition. In some mss. of the Π2 class other than the primarii P2 and P3 (i.e. in such mss. as are designated severally by π3 - I employ the symbols of Immisch' recension of Susemihl's edition. According to Newman they are P4 = Parisinus 2025, P6 = Parisinus 1857 καὶ Ls = Lipsiensis 1335) the δὴ is changed to γὰρ and τὸν μέλλοντα is dropped out. Grammatical structure is thereby established, but it is of course out of the question that Aristotle could have written: ἀνάγκη γὰρ περὶ αὐτῆς ποιήσασθαι τὴν προσήκουσαν σκέψιν.
It seems that the same ineffective expedience was followed by Guilelmus Moerbeke in his version: necesse utique facturum de ipsa convenientem speculationem. A scholion in the margin of P2 = Parisinus Coislinianus 161 (olim Athous) suggests a desperate measure: οὕτω συντακτέον· καὶ πῶς ἀνάγκη δὴ τοὺς περὶ αὐτῶν ἐπισκεψομένους καθίστασθαι ἤτοι ποίᾳ ἀρχῇ λόγου χρήσασθαι ἀνάγκη (!). The defective sentence is connected to the preceding καθίστασθαι πῶς, interpreted as "how to begin". The final clause (ἤτοι... ἀνάγκη) occurs also in the margin of P1 = Parisinus 2023 (of the Π1 family). Finally, Ha = Hamiltonianus 41 (v. Immisch p. XI) has Ἀνάγκη δὴ γὰρ while adding ἐπιεικῶς after σκέψιν, as if λέγειν was meant taken over from 1288b3 two lines above. –
But all this is unnecessary. The palimpsest Vatican fragments (10th century, the by far the oldest extant textual testimony that we possess) have the final sentence in its unadormed defectiveness. Evidently the arranging editor wanted to leave obvious signs of the initial condition, which made H follow immediately upon Γ. The interfering editorial choice was probably meant as restoring to the Politics the prevailing order in the other major Aristotelian works, where there is a gradual more or less built up in the development towards the final most important doctrines, last in the sequence of knowledge but first in the order of nature. (Physics, De anima, Metaphysics, Ethics). The practice of indicating the sequel at the end of a book by repeating some of the following book's initial words like a typographical pointer is also observed in one of the best manuscripts of Metaphysics (Ab = Laurentianus 87.12). Thus Ab gives at the end of Γ: Καὶ τὸ πρῶτον κινοῦν ἀκίνητον αὐτὸ ἀρχὴ λέγεται, where Ἀρχὴ λέγεται is the beginning of Δ. At the end of Book H, Ab repeats the entire initial sentence of Θ with slight modifications. And again at the end of Book I an incomplete part of the beginning sentence of K is repeated, similar to the case in Politics.
But the most eloquent testimony for the relevance of such pointers as above observed in establishing the indicated order of books in the Aristotelian works is provided by the manuscript transmission of Historia Animalium. A number of Mss. (Aa QCa Da Ea Fa Ga mn according to the Bekkerian notation) present the following series of Books (the letters express the common succession): A B Γ Δ E Z Θ I H K. Precisely at the point where the usual series is interrupted, namely at the end of Z, ms. Aa = Marcianus 208, repeats the beginning sentence of Θ: τὰ μὲν οὖν περὶ τὴν ἄλλην φύσιν τῶν ζῴων καὶ τὴν γένεσιν τοῦτον ἔχει τὸν τρόπον. After putting book H (7th in the ordinary series) in the 9th position after I, mss. PAaCa add at the end of H the incomplete phrase: προϊούσης δὲ τῆς ἡλικίας, which is the incipit of Book K. Ga at the end of Book H (7th in the common order, 9th in the order of Ga) bears a note to the effect: ὅτι ἐν τῷ λατινικῷ εὕρομεν καὶ δέκατον βιβλίον τῶν περὶ τὰ ζῷα ἱστοριῶν, οὗ η ἀρχὴ "προϊούσης δὲ τὴς ἡλικίας ἡ τοῦ μὴ …θατέρῳ ἐστίν" (very slight modification from the transmitted text at the head of K). οὐκ οἶδα εἰ τοῦτο τὸ βιβλίον εὑρίσκεται καὶ ἐν τῷ ἑλληνικῷ· μέχρι γὰρ τοῦ νῦν οὐκ ἐνέτυχον αὐτῷ. To which a latter hand adds: ἀλλὰ νῦν ἐνετύχομεν αὐτῷ καὶ ἐν τῷ ἑλληνικῷ, κἀνταῦθα ἐνεγράψαμεν (the same hand to a previous Finis – τέλος τοῦ παρόντος βιβλίου – adjoins: οὐ τοῦ καθόλου τῶν ἱστοριῶν βιβλίου, ἀλλὰ τοῦ ἐνάτου δηλονότι· εὕρηται γὰρ καὶ δέκατον). At the end of book Δ, ms m = Parisinus 1921 repeats the beginning clauses (4 Bekkerian verses) of E, while ms. Ca = Laurentianus 87.4 has it at the end of Δ instead of at the beginning of E. Similarly P = Vaticanus 1339 has alone the initial full sentence of Z at the end of E, and not at its common place.
It is probable that the "pointers" observed stem from some ancient use purporting to identify rapidly and unmistakenly the content of papyrus rolls. To each such roll there would have been appended a tag bearing the incipit and desinit of the text written within. This will have surely been a safer and exacter method than giving the ordinal number of the book according to some division which could vary, or to some title which might not have been settled in most cases: with ancient memorizing attitudes especially, which book it was and what was about would be more readily evoked by noticing its beginning and end; this would also considerably facilitate the correct determination of the series of rolls in a great work, as it is much more likely to err in assigning, repeating or following single letters or numbers than meaningful sequences of a few words.
In the case of the Historia Animalium, the difference in the series of the last books marked by this technique of tag-appending, possesses further significance as to the sequence in the treatment of the subject matter, just as in Politics. A brief description of the contents of the books in question will make the point evident.
Ordo traditus
Z.            Generation of birds. Of fishes. Of viviparous land animals (except man).
H.           Human generation.
Θ.           Classification of animals into land and aquatic according to reception of air or water, to bodily temperances and to food. Animal ways of life.
I.             Animal characters (ἤθη τῶν ζῴων).
K.           Causes of infertility in humans.
It is clear that this sequence is anomalous, as it stands, and that book H should enter between I and K just as we saw above effected. Yet notice MN in Metaphysics following the theological Λ. However, them are of an explicitly critical nature, and may be considered in the form of an Appendix). Even setting aside book K as of doubtful genuineness (notice the addition of it to the corpus a posteriori), the question arises whether the treatment of man's birth should not rather be kept for the very end and culmination of the treatise (exactly as in the major Aristotelian Works noticed above, or in K made to follow H before Θ).
The problem bears resemblance to the one faced in Politics: should the master-subject, analysis of the best constitution, be reserved for the very end or ought it rather not to follow immediately upon the introductory Essay on General Politeiology, with the inferior political formations treated in detail afterwards. Analogously here (if we omit consideration of K), does not the study of human generation represent the last step in the examination of animal generation, before analysis of animal ways of life and characters, or is it not rather that it should crown the work at its very end? At the beginning of E the treatment of human generation is said to be reserved – for the very end because of its complication (539a7-8). But this does not settle the question whether it is the end of the treatise on generation (EZH) or of the entire work that is meant. The ancient editors of Aristotle, Andronicus no doubt ultimately, display strong preoccupation with the correct structure of an Aristotelian treatise: he envisages it as growing towards its final end, the culmination of the process of analysis and the high point of importance; he is appropriately thoroughly teleological in his editorial principles. The fact that in Historia animalium alone there is transmitted an order which apparently contravenes rigorous teleology (even though some, but not decisive, weight may carry the notion that in a work of the Natural History of the animal realm, animal character is the concluding climax), speaks forcefully in either case against the authenticity of book K.
It could be argued that Γ18 may remain in Γ, and still the mention of  ἐν τοῖς πρώτοις λόγοις  refer to Γ4-5, since there seems to occur a division within Γ at the beginning of the discussion on kingship, Γ14, 1284b35: ἴσως δὲ καλῶς ἔχει μετὰ τοὺς εἰρημένους λόγους μεταβῆναι καὶ σκέψασθαι περὶ βασιλείας etc. But the before-said arguments or the previously mentioned points (οἱ εἰρημένοι λόγοι, οἱ πρότεροι λόγοι, οἱ πρὸ τούτων λόγοι, οἱ ἐπάνω λόγοι, οἱ ἄνω καὶ ὑπόγυιοι λόγοι - v. Bonitz, Index Aristotelicus, p. 433b36-40) is rather lax and indefinite reference to what precedes; οἱ πρῶτοι λόγοι (and ἡ πρώτη μέθοδος) is probably a more definite part of the work where the first treatment of the subject occurs, the first treatise.
Besides, in Δ10, 1295a4-17 there occurs double reference to the discussion of kingship in Γ14-17 (that is to the alleged second part of Γ), one more general, one very specific, both undoubtful. The former: περὶ μὲν οὖν βασιλείας διωρίσαμεν ἐν τοῖς πρώτοις λόγοις, ἐν οἷς περὶ τῆς μάλιστα λεγομένης βασιλείας ἐποιούμεθα τὴν σκέψιν, πότερον ἀσύμφορος ἢ συμφέρει ταῖς πόλεσιν, καὶ τίνα καὶ πόθεν δεῖ καθιστάναι καὶ πῶς. This is nicely answered by the treatment of absolute monarchy in Γ15 sqq. (Cf. in particular the introduction of the question with emphasis on the συμφέρον, 1286a1 sqq.; a7 sqq.). The other reference runs thus: τυραννίδος δ᾿ εἴδη δύο μὲν διείλομεν ἐν οἷς περὶ βασιλείας ἐπεσκοποῦμεν, διὰ τὸ τὴν δύναμιν ἐπαλλάττειν πως αὐτῶν καὶ πρὸς τὴν βασιλείαν, διὰ τὸ κατὰ νόμον εἶναι ἀμφοτέρας ταύτας τὰς ἀρχὰς (ἔν τε γὰρ τῶν βαρβάρων τιςὶν αἱροῦνται αὐτοκράτορας μονάρχους, καὶ τὸ παλαιὸν ἐν τοῖς ἀρχαίοις Ἕλλησιν ἐγίγνοντό τινες μόναρχοι τὸν τρόπον τοῦτον οὓς ἐκάλουν αἰσυμνήτας), ἔχουσι δέ τινας πρὸς ἀλλήλας αὗται διαφοράς, ἦσαν δὲ διὰ μὲν τὸ κατὰ νόμον βασιλικαὶ καὶ διὰ τὸ μοναρχεῖν ἑκόντων, τυραννικαὶ δὲ διὰ τὸ δεσποτικῶς ἄρχειν κατὰ τὴν αὐτῶν γνώμην. This precisely squares with Γ14, 1285a16-b3; even the nuance in sentiment as well as in meaning is identical. What makes the two kinds of constitution described in these passages tyrannical (partly and in a certain respect) is the fact that they are despotic (1285a20-23; 1285b2-3 very clearly; and so 1295a16-7). Despotism implies the application of political violence against the will of the subjects.
But this is derivative: it is against the will because it is directed to the ruler's benefit and not to the welfare of the whole society; and such an orientation of political action is what free men will never willingly accept. Despotism lacks persuasiveness and is obliged to employ force in the administration of the state by reason of its disregard of the public (and hence individual) good. This again stems from inability and defectiveness on the part of the Despot. A man excelling in human perfection will necessarily be a man mindful of the good social and personal, and capable of effectively fostering and maintaining it: he will therefore rule necessarily over willing subjects, since enlightened people care about their own good and follow him who best securs it: the ἄριστος. All this is succinctly put by Aristotle at the end of his brief treatment of tyranny in Δ, 10 (οὐχ ὡς ἑνούσης πολυλογίας περὶ αὐτὴν – sc. τὴν τυραννίδα – ἀλλ᾿ ὅπως λάβῃ τῆς μεθόδου τὸ μέρος he meaningfully remarks). 1295a19-23: (Tyranny is the reverse of rightful absolute Monarchy, παμβασιλεία)· τοιαύτην δ᾿ ἀναγκαῖον εἶναι τυραννίδα τὴν μοναρχίαν, ἥτις ἀνυπεύθυνος ἄρχει τῶν ὁμοίων καὶ βελτιόνων πάντων πρὸς τὸ σφέτερον αὐτῆς συμφέρον, ἀλλὰ μὴ πρὸς τὸ τῶν ἀρχομένων, διόπερ ἀκούσιος· οὐθεὶς γὰρ ἑκὼν ὑπομένει τῶν ἐλευθέρων τὴν τοιαύτην ἀρχήν (i.e. no free man suffers really to be governed by his equal or inferior, and indeed for the latter's own interest). And so H 14, 1333a2 sqq: ἔστι δὲ ἀρχή, καθάπερ ἐν τοῖς πρώτοις εἴρηται λόγοις, ἡ μὲν τοῦ ἄρχοντος χάριν ἡ δὲ τοῦ ἀρχομένου. τούτων δὲ τὴν μὲν δεσποτικὴν εἶναί φαμεν, τὴν δὲ τῶν ἐλευθέρων. This passage provides another example of reference back by means of the expression πρῶτοι λόγοι. Here the reference is precisely to Γ6, 1278b30 sqq., where the point is developed that the defining differentiation between despotic and other kinds of rule (not only political but also such as obtain in all cases where one directs and somebody else follows as in House Economy and administration, Building, Medicine, Gymnastics, Navigation etc.). The question, we are told there, has been repeatedly treated by Aristotle in his ἐξωτερικοὶ λόγοι. (Cf. J. Bernays, Die Dialoge des Aristoteles, pp. 51-57). Other passages like Γ4 1266a33 sqq. or A7, 1255b16 sqq., miss the characteristic definitions, and are therefore not exact parallels.
The locus classicus for the determination of the genuine structure of Politics on internal evidence is the beginning of Δ2, 1289a26-38. In a recapitulation of what has already be done (succeeded by the programme of what is to follow) there is mention of: a) the distinction of the six types of polity, in Γ6-8 as contained ἐν τῇ πρώτῃ μεθόδῳ περὶ τῶν πολιτειῶν (1289a 26-30); b) the treatment of ἀρίστη πολιτεία as in effect constituting the scientific handling of aristocracy and kingship (a30-33); and c) the differentiation between aristocracy and kingship as well as the question of the nature and propriety of kingship (a33-35). The text is as follows: ἐπεὶ δ᾿ ἐν τῇ πρώτῃ μεθόδῳ περὶ τῶν πολιτειῶν (a) διειλόμεθα τρεῖς μὲν τὰς ὀρθὰς πολιτείας, βασιλείαν ἀριστοκρατίαν πολιτείαν, τρεῖς δὲ τὰς τούτων παρεκβάσεις, τυραννίδα μὲν βασιλείας ὀλιγαρχίαν δὲ ἀριστοκρατίας δημοκρατίαν δὲ πολιτείας, καὶ περὶ μὲν ἀριστοκρατίας καὶ βασιλείας (b) εἴρηται (τὸ γὰρ περὶ τῆς ἀρίστης πολιτείας θεωρῆσαι ταὐτὸ καὶ περὶ τούτων ἐστὶν εἰπεῖν τῶν ὀνομάτων· βούλεται γὰρ ἑκατέρα κατ᾿ ἀρετὴν συνεστάναι κεχορηγημένην), ἔτι δὲ (c) τί διαφέρουσιν ἀλλήλων ἀριστοκρατία καὶ βασιλεία, καὶ πότε δεῖ βασιλείαν νομίζειν, διώρισται πρότερον· λοιπόν etc. Clearly (a) refers to Γ6 sqq., (b) to ΗΘ, and (c) to Γ17 (cf. also Γ7, 1279a33 sqq.; Γ15 1286b3 sqq.). Taking further into account the forward reference at the end of A (in A13, 1260b12) to ἐν τοῖς περὶ τὰς πολιτείας (where sufficient analysis of the family relationships ought to take place), there emerges the following scheme:


                                 Books (in this order)                 Internal titling

                                            Α           Πρῶτοι λόγοι (and part of πρῶτοι λόγοι)
Πρῶτοι           Πρῶτοι              Β           (probably part of the πρώτη μέθοδος περὶ τῶν πολιτειῶν
                      λόγοι               Γ            πρώτη μέθοδος περὶ τῶν πολιτειῶν
λόγοι                                     ΗΘ         περὶ ἀρίστης πόλεως_
                                            ΔΕΖ        (Δευτέρα μέθοδος περὶ τῶν πολιτειῶν).
                                                        [Divided in ΔΕ and (supplement) Z (v.infra)]

The order a-b-c in ΔZ is systematic and not temporal. (c) refers to Γ, and hence to the πρώτη μέθοδος περὶ τῶν πολιτειῶν; but this is obvious to anybody who has gone through the work and reached the present point, and does not require repeated explicit mention after (a). The Aristotelian formulation makes unlikely that he included the treatise περὶ ἀρίστης πόλεως to the πρώτη μέθοδος περὶ τῶν πολιτειῶν: ἐπεὶ δ᾿ ἐν τῇ πρώτῃ μεθόδῳ περὶ τῶν πολιτειῶν διειλόμεθα…, καὶ περὶ μὲν ἀριστοκρατίας καὶ βασιλείας εἴρηται (τὸ γὰρ περὶ τῆς ἀρίστης πολιτείας θεωρῆσαι etc.). HΘ has a certain self-sufficiency and relative independence from Γ, and this is what eventually made possible the interposition of ΔΕΖ between them.
On the other hand, πρῶτοι λόγοι seem also to be extended so that the ΗΘ group περὶ ἀρίστης πόλεως is also covered. In Δ7, 1293b1 sqq. there is a reference back to a discussion of aristocracy having occurred reference back to a discussion of aristocracy having occurred ἐν τοῖς πρώτοις λόγοις: ἀριστοκρατίαν μὲν οὖν καλῶς ἔχει καλεῖν περὶ ἧς διήλθομεν ἐν τοῖς πρώτοις λόγοις (τὴν γὰρ ἐκ τῶν ἀρίστων ἁπλῶς κατ᾿ ἀρετὴν πολιτείαν καὶ πρὸς ὑπόθεσίν τινα ἀγαθῶν ἀνδρῶν μόνην δίκαιον προσαγορεύειν ἀριστοκρατίαν· ἐν μὲν γὰρ ἁπλῶς ὁ αὐτὸς ἀνὴρ καὶ πολίτης ἀγαθός ἐστιν, οἱ δ᾿ ἐν ταῖς ἄλλαις ἀγαθοὶ πρὸς τὴν πολιτείαν εἰσὶ τὴν αὐτῶν). Aristotle had a few lines before (a38-9) spoken about τὴν καλουμένην ἀριστοκρατίαν, and is here explaining the proper sense of the word, which is also used to highlight aristocratical features involved in some other mixed constitutions (v. b8 sqq.) like those of Carthago and Sparta (b14 sqq.). In conclusion we read (b18-21): ἀριστοκρατίας μὲν οὖν παρὰ τὴν πρώτην τὴν ἀρίστην πολιτείαν ταῦτα δύο εἴδη καὶ τρίτον ὅσαι τῆς καλουμένης πολιτείας ρέπουσι πρὸς τὴν ὀλιγαρχίαν μᾶλλον. Hence what he means by ἀριστοκρατία in b1 above is precisely the ἀρίστη πολιτεία treated in ΗΘ. This result is valid irrespective of the determination of the precise passages referred to and answering to the characteristics of aristocracy mentioned in the parenthetical sentence above (b3 sqq.), over which there might occur dispute and controversy. For instance Susemihl allocated the reference to H 14, 1333a11 sqq. (and H 9, 1328 b37 sqq.), while Newman preferred Γ4-5 (with addition of Γ7, 1279a34 sqq.; Γ15 1286b3 sqq.; Γ18, 1288a37 sqq.). Cf. Newman ad loc., IV p. 193.
It is true that all that is contained in the parenthetical passage in question (Δ7, 1293b1 sqq.) is to be found in the developments of Γ (cf. e.g. the final words of Γ5, 1278a40 sqq.). Still the expression πρὸς ὑπόθεσιν ἀγαθοὶ ἄνδρες in antithesis to ἄριστοι ἁπλῶς squares exactly with H9, 1328b37 sqq.: φανερὸν ἐκ τούτων ὡς ἐν τῇ κάλλιστα πολιτευομένῃ πόλει καὶ τῇ κεκτημένῃ δικαίους ἄνδρας ἁπλῶς, ἀλλὰ μὴ πρὸς τὴν ὑπόθεσιν, etc. Besides, it has been shown above, that in the same book (Δ2), Aristotle explicitly states that the treatment of Aristocracy (and of kingship) consists in the study of  ἀρίστη πολιτεία. Furthermore, shortly before the passage discussed, Aristotle (in Δ3) renders certain that in speaking of the treatment of Aristocracy he means the analysis in ΗΘ. So, Δ3, 1289b40 sqq.: ἔτι πρὸς ταῖς κατὰ πλοῦτον διαφοραῖς ἐστιν ἡ μὲν κατὰ γένος ἡ δὲ κατ᾿ ἀρετὴν κἂν εἴ τι δὴ τοιοῦτον ἕτερον εἵρηται πόλεως εἶναι μέρος ἐν τοῖς περὶ τὴν ἀριστοκρατίαν· ἐκεῖ γὰρ διείλομεν ἐκ πόσων μερῶν ἀναγκαίων ἐστὶ πᾶσα πόλις· τούτων γὰρ τῶν μερῶν ὁτὲ μὲν πάντα μετέχει τῆς πολιτείας, ὁτὲ δ᾿ ἑλάττω ὁτὲ δὲ πλείω. Again it has been disputed whether the reference is to H (Susemihl thought of H7, 1328a17-H9, 1329a39) or perhaps to Γ (Γ12, 1283a14 sqq. Newman, ad loc. IV pp. 154-5). But, firstly, as Newman saw, 1290a3 sqq. corresponds nicely to H9, 1328b30 sqq. And, secondly and decisively, the mention of various necessary parts of a city (ἀναγκαῖα μέρη), by implication not two or three and general (like poor, wealthy, noble), but of considerable articulation and number, must refer to the detailed classification of social functions (ἔργα) and powers (δυνάμεις) and corresponding organic parts (μέρη) in H8, upon which the passage above referred (in H9) follows immediately.
The doctrine of the ἀναγκαῖα ἔργα, δυνάμεις, μέρη of a society, necessary for it in order to exist as a functioning society, has already appeared in H8, 1328b2 sqq. there to be utilized in deciding the groups that will participate as full citizens of the best city in political power. Shortly after the passage in Δ3, a fuller version of the list involved in H8 is presented with the aim of providing the foundation upon which an analysis in depth of constitutional variety may be conducted. In Δ3 the doctrine of necessary social factors is referred to, invoked to explain the existence and nature of constitutional variety. The constitutional form of a Society consists in the pattern of distribution of political power in it, in the order of rule established in it among the social factors (parts, groups, statuses or classes). Δ3, 1290a7 sqq.: πολιτεία μὲν γὰρ ἡ τῶν ἀρχῶν τάξις ἐστί, ταύτην δὲ διανέμονται πάντες ἢ κατὰ τὴν δύναμιν τῶν μετεχόντων ἢ κατὰ τιν᾿ αὐτῶν ἰσότητα κοινήν, λέγω δ᾿ οἷον τῶν ἀπόρων ἢ τῶν εὐπόρων ἢ κοινὴν τιν᾿ ἀμφοῖν. ἀναγκαῖον ἄρα πολιτείας εἶναι τοσαύτας ὅσαι περ τάξεις κατὰ τὰς ὑπεροχάς εἰσι καὶ κατὰ τὰς διαφορὰς τῶν μορίων.
In fact, we have here a different aspect of the same problem that we encountered in the case of the best polity (H8): to see which are the real and full citizens in the best city is to see which groups exercise political power in it; here we are involved with the question of the social foundation of political power in constitutional forms other than the best polity; but it is of the same science to take cognizance and resolve both problems (Δ1). The announcement of the principle in Δ3 begins to be carried into effect in Δ4, 1290b21 sqq., by the fuller analysis of the necessary social factors in any organized, self-sustainable human congregation. The analysis is relied upon in the sequel of this δευτέρα μέθοδος περὶ τῶν πολιτειῶν (ΔΕΖ), even though the paramount significance of the poor-wealthy polarity in constitutional questions is both explained (Δ4, 1291b2-13) and abundantly confirmed by the actual succeeding analyses. A particular kind of composition or conjugation of the various necessary social factors defines a particular type of constitution, just as a specific combination of the necessary animal members defines an animal species (Δ4, 1290b25-39). The defining composition of social factors concerns the political structure, and is thus centered primarily around the preeminently political relationship, i.e. the relationship of ruling. Thus there exists perfect consistency of Δ3-4 with itself and with the rest of Politics.
The original sequence of the parts of Politics (as established in the table above) is vividly portrayed by the gradual extension of the reference of "πρῶτοι λόγοι". For Γ, πρῶτοι λόγοι is book A. For H, πρῶτοι λόγοι is A (B) and Γ. For Δ, πρῶτοι λόγοι is (A, B), Γ, H, (Θ).
The last group in Politics, books ΔΕΖ, are divided into two parts, ΔΕ and Z. Z is partly of the nature of an Appendix: in Z1 we find a recapitulation of the main topics in ΔΕ, and then the plan for Z is described as involving the discussion of a) what there remains to be added, what is needed by way of further analysis and articulation especially with respect to the required filling up of details; b) the characteristic proper and advantageous organization pattern of each constitution (which again has been already treated in the main above, Δ12-15. This is affirmed in Z1 1317a10-16); and c) the multiple gradations and compositions of the purer types yielding the variety of hybrid constitutions (as against subvarieties of a single type examined before). Z1, 1316b31 sqq.: πόσαι μὲν οὖν διαφοραὶ καὶ τίνες τοῦ τε βουλευτικοῦ καὶ κυρίου τῆς πολιτείας καὶ τῆς περὶ τὰς ἀρχὰς τάξεως καὶ περὶ δικαστηρίων, καὶ ποία πρὸς ποίαν συντέτακται πολιτείαν (i.e. Δ12-15), ἔτι δὲ περὶ φθορᾶς τε καὶ σωτηρίας τῶν πολιτειῶν, ἐκ ποίων τε γίνεται καὶ διὰ τίνας αἰτίας (i.e. E), εἴρηται πρότερον· ἐπεὶ δὲ τετύχηκεν εἴδη πλείω δημοκρατίας ὄντα καὶ τῶν ἄλλων ὁμοίως πολιτειῶν, (a) ἅμα τε περὶ ἐκείνων, εἴ τι λοιπόν, οὐ χεῖρον ἐπισκέψασθαι (what remains to be investigated after the treatment principally in Δ4-11), καὶ (b) τὸν οἰκεῖον καὶ τὸν συμφέροντα τρόπον ἀποδοῦναι πρὸς ἑκάστην (as has been observed, this ground is already preliminarily covered in Δ12-15), ἔτι δὲ (c) καὶ τὰς συναγωγὰς αὐτῶν τῶν εἰρημένων ἐπισκεπτέον πάντων τῶν τρόπων· ταῦτα γὰρ συνδυαζόμενα ποιεῖ τὰς πολιτείας ἐπαλλάττειν, ὥστε ἀριστοκρατίας τε ὀλιγαρχικὰς εἶναι καὶ πολιτείας δημοκρατικωτέρας. λέγω δὲ τοὺς συνδυασμούς, οὕς δεῖ μὲν ἐπισκοπεῖν, οὐκ ἐσκεμμένοι δ᾿ εἰσι νῦν (as against those already treated in book Δ), οἷον ἂν τὸ μὲν βουλευόμενον καὶ τὸ περὶ τὰς ἀρχαιρεσίας ὀλιγαρχικῶς ᾖ συντεταγμένον, τὰ δὲ περὶ τὰ δικαστήρια ἀριστοκρατικῶς etc.
The unity of ΔΕ is indicated already in the setting out of their subject matter (chapters of topics) in Δ2, 1289b12-25: this description covers exactly the ground of Δ and E. That the enumeration includes (1289b 20-22), as treated in the sequel, the question of the way to devise and plan the different types and subtypes of constitution, with a view to their safety before mention of constitutional change (the subject of E), does not mean that originally Z was intended to precede E; for the expectation regarding the former question is partly fulfilled in Δ14-16. Thus again the supplementing character of Z is made evident. (Aristotle explicitly explains in Z4, 1319b27 sqq., that the basis for a rigorous analysis of constitutional safety is provided by the theory of constitutional change and stability which has been given previously, τεθεώρηται, in E). Z refers to Δ as the "λόγοι before the present ones"; Z4, 1318b6: Δημοκρατιῶν δ᾿ οὐσῶν τεττάρων βελτίστη μὲν ἡ πρώτη τάξει, καθάπερ ἐν τοῖς πρὸ τούτων ἐλέχθη λόγοις (in Δ4, 1291b30 sqq.; Δ11, 1296b3 sqq.). Again in Z2, 1317b34 there is a reference back to Δ15, 1299b38-1300a4 as to the "inquiry before the present one": καθάπερ εἴρηται πρότερον ἐν τῇ μεθόδῳ τῇ πρὸ ταύτης. Further Z1, 1317a37 refers back to E: καθάπερ ἐν τοῖς περὶ τὰς φθορὰς καὶ τὰς σωτηρίας τῶν πολιτειῶν εἴρηται πρότερον. Δ11, 1296a6 refers forward to E: τὴν δ᾿ αἰτίαν ὕστερον ἐν τοῖς περὶ τὰς μεταβολὰς τῶν πολιτειῶν ἐροῦμεν.

[Published in K. Boudouris (ed.), Aristotelian Political Philosophy, vol. II, 1993, pp. 125 - 159]