XXX. (157) But these men have this to say in excuse of themselves, that they are not pursuing any private advantage for themselves, and also that they are influenced by excessive affection for their nearest relations, for the sake of the preservation of whom they will cheerfully submit to die. (158) But who, I will not say of moderate men, but even of those who are very inhuman indeed in their dispositions, would not reject such barbarous and actually brutally disposed persons as those who, either by secret contrivance or by open audacity, inflict the greatest calamities on one person as a punishment for the faults of another, putting forward as a pretext the plea of friendship, or of relationship, or of fellowship, or something of that kind, as a justification for the destruction of those who have done no wrong? And at times they even do these things without having suffered any injury at all out of mere covetousness and a love of rapine. (159) Not long ago a certain man who had been appointed a collector of taxes in our country, when some of those who appeared to owe such tribute fled out of poverty, from a fear of intolerable punishment if they remained without paying, carried off their wives, and their children, and their parents, and their whole families by force, beating and insulting them, and heaping every kind of contumely and ill treatment upon them, to make them either give information as to where the fugitives had concealed themselves, or pay the money instead of them, though they could not do either the one thing or the other; in the first place, because they did not know where they were, and secondly, because they were in still greater poverty than the men who had fled. (160) But this tax-collector did not let them go till he had tortured their bodies with racks and wheels, so as to kill them with newly invented kinds of death, fastening a basket full of sand to their necks with cords, and suspending it there as a very heavy weight, and then placing them in the open air in the middle of the market place, that some of them, being tortured and being overwhelmed by all these afflictions at once, the wind, and the sun, and the mockery of the passers by, and the shame, and the heavy burden attached to them, might faint miserably; and that the rest, being spectators, might be grieved and take warning by their punishment, (161) some of whom, having a more acute sense of such miseries in their minds than that which they could receive though their eyes, since they sympathised with these unfortunates as if they were themselves suffering in the persons of others, put an end to their own lives by swords, or poison, or halters, thinking it a great piece of good luck for persons, liable to such misery, to be able to meet with death without torture. (162) But those who did not make haste to kill themselves, but who were seized before they could do so, were led away in a row, as in the case of actions for inheritance, according to their nearness of kindred, the nearest relations first, then those next to them in succession, in the second or third place, till they came to the last; and then, when there were no relations left, the cruelty proceeded on to the friends and neighbours of the fugitives; and sometimes it was extended even into the cities and villages, which soon became desolate, being emptied of all their inhabitants, who all quitted their homes, and dispersed to places where they hoped that they might escape detection. (163) But perhaps it is not wonderful if men, barbarians by nature, utterly ignorant of all gentleness, and under the command of despotic authority, which compelled them to give an account of the yearly revenue, should, in order to enforce the payment of the taxes, extend their severities, not merely to properties but also to the persons, and even to the lives, of those from whom they thought they could exact a vicarious payment. (164) But now, even those persons who are the very standard and rule of justice, the lawgivers themselves, having a regard to appearance rather than to truth, have endured to become, instead, standards of injustice, commanding the children of a traitor to be put to death with the traitor himself, and in the case of tyrants the five families most nearly related to them. (165) Why is this I should say? For if indeed they have shared in their wickedness, then let them likewise share in their punishment; but if they have not participated in that, and if they have not been imitators of such actions, and if they have not been elated by the prosperity of their kinsmen, so as to exult in it, why should they be put to death? Is it for this reason alone, that they are their relations? Are the punishments then inflicted for the relationship, or for the lawless conduct? (166) Perhaps you yourselves, O you venerable lawgivers, have had virtuous relations; but suppose they had been wicked, then it seems to me that you not only would never yourselves have devised any such commandments as this, but would have been furious with any one else who proposed such a law, because […]{15}{there appears to be an hiatus in the text here. There is clearly a want of connection and coherence in the rest of the sentence as it stands now.} taking care to avoid all liability to terrible calamity, and desiring to live in security, is now in great danger, and is exposed to an equal degree of misfortune. For the one condition is liable to fear, which, though a person may guard against for himself, he will still not despise the safety of another, but the other state is free from all apprehension, and by it men have often been persuaded to neglect the safety of innocent men. (167) Therefore our lawgiver, considering these things and perceiving the errors of others, rejects them and hates them as destructive of the most excellent constitution, and consigns to punishment all those who give way to such, whether it be out of indifference, or out of inhumanity and wickedness, and never permits any of their countrymen or friends to be substituted for them, making themselves an addition to the crimes which the others have already committed; (168) on which account he has expressly forbidden sons to be put to death instead of their parents, or parents instead of their sons, thinking it right that they who have committed the crimes should also bear the punishment, whether it be a pecuniary fine, or stripes, and more severe personal chastisement, or even wounds and mutilation, and dishonour, and exile, or any other judicial sentence; for though he only names one kind of punishment, forbidding one person to be put to death for another, he also comprises other kinds, which he does not expressly mention.