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"At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst."

What does this quote mean?

Aristotle is saying to the reader that people can be amazing, and that humanity is the most advanced species in the world. People have done incredible things that no other animal could ever dream of doing. However, when there are no laws or punishment for breaking laws people turn into regular animals that fight, steal, and kill. Aristotle is telling people that there has to be a justice system in society or else tyranny and chaos will rule the world. Law is what regulates society, provides safety for the population, and prevents cruel people from gaining power. Aristotle believed that people are capable of thought and that the ancient Greek gods did not directly control humans. This quote goes along with that way of thinking since people have a free will and need laws to keep others from doing harm. Also, if people have free will then the gods cannot have direct control over individual lives. This quote then goes hand in hand with Aristotle's way of thinking and does a brilliant job in explaining why law and order is so important.
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Our modern day courts are still influenced by ancient Greek architecture, such as the U.S Supreme Court building shown above. They stand as a testament to Aristotle's words and remind us how important our laws are.

How His Words Related to Ancient Greece

The ancient Greeks are known for pushing the limits of technology at the time and questioning scientific and mathematical laws. The ancient Greeks had laws of their own as well as a court system. There were two capital offences that were punishable by death, murder and improper burial. In Athens these as well as other charges were settled in a court by a jury made up of citizens, with magistrates having the authority to accuse people of a crime and send them to court. This type of justice system fits perfectly with Aristotle's words. Since there was a strong justice system, the Greeks were able to perform at their best. This system regulated society and provided an ideal atmosphere for progress. It ensured that people would control themselves knowing that a harsh punishment would come to them if they strayed from the law. Aristotle recognized this and likely said these words as a warning that in a world that has no laws, society can become uncontrollable.
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This painting above shows Aristotle (right) talking to his mentor Plato (left) in the center of the image. It shows the two conversing as they walk down the hall of The School of Athens and one of the most famous painting done of Aristotle.

Works Cited

"Ancient Greek Court" Google Images. 16 September 2016.

"Aristotle" Google Images. 16 September 2016.

"Khan Academy." Khan Academy. The Collage Board, n.d. Web. 18 Sept. 2016.

"Law" Google Images. 18 September 2016.

"Law." Prallagon. N.p., 2016. Web. 16 Sept. 2016.

"Supreme Court" Google Images. 18 September 2016.