09 Nov The best home seemed to him to be where no injustice is attached to the acquisition of property, no distrust to keeping it, and no repentance to spending it. (PLUTARCH)
The Dinner of the Seven Wise Men
It seems to me, Aesop, that your idea of a home is limited to these protective coverings made of mortar, wood, and tiles, just as you were to regard a snail’s shell, and not the creature itself, as a snail. Quite naturally, then, Solon gave you occasion to laugh, because, when he had looked over Croesus’s house with its costly furnishings, he did not instantly declare that the owner led a happy and blessed existence therein, for the good reason that he wished to have a look at the good within Croesus rather than at his good surroundings. But you, apparently, do not remember your own fox. For the fox, having entered into a contest with the leopard to determine which was the more ingeniously coloured, insisted it was but fair that the judge should note carefully what was within her, for there she said she should show herself more ingenious.
This then,” said he, “is my answer to Aesop’ insinuation, and my contribution to Diocles. And now it is but right that each of the others should disclose his own opinion.”
Thereupon Solon said that the best home seemed to him to be where no injustice is attached to the acquisition of property, no distrust to keeping it, and no repentance to spending it.
Bias said, “It is the home in which the head of the household, because of his own self, maintains the same character that he maintains outside of it because of the law.”
Thales said, “The home in which it is possible for the head of the household to have the greatest leisure.”
Cleobulus said, “If the head of the household have more who love him than fear him.”
Pittacus said that the best home is that which needs nothing superfluous, and lacks nothing necessary.
Chilon said that the home ought to be most like to a State ruled by a king; and then he added that Lycurgus said to the man who urged him to establish a democracy in the State, “Do you first create a democracy in your own house.”