Such conflicts were addressed by the idea of justice, which wasfundamental to the city as it emerged from the archaic age, sometimesreflected in Homer, into the classical period. Justice was conceived bypoets, lawgivers, and philosophers alike as the structure of civicbonds which were beneficial to all (rich and poor, powerful and weakalike) rather than an exploitation of some by others. Hesiod'slate eighth-century epic poem Works and Days, for example,contrasts the brute strength with which a hawk can dominate anightingale (“You are being held by one who is muchstronger… I will make a meal of you, if I want, or let yougo,” lines 206–208), with the peace and plenty which flourisheswherever justice, such as rendering fair verdicts to foreigners, ispreserved (lines 225–230).


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