the just

Which name shall I write?

Aristides "The Just", (482 BC)

in ancient athens, a special vote could be called in which a member of society would be banished from the city in a practice called ostracism. this was done if it was believed that any one individual had gained too much power or influence and unbalanced the power of athenian democracy. but, like all things law, the spirit of it was mercurial at best.

in 482 BC a prominent and respected athenian named aristides, popularly known simply as "the just" for his impartial deliberations and integrity, saw a local peasant on the day of the vote needing help.

"Which name shall I write?", offered Aristides.

"Thank you. Please put down 'Aristides' for me," the man replied.

"Certainly. But may I ask, why you chose him? Has this man ever wronged you?" Aristides inquired as he dutifully wrote his own name down.

"No. I have never met him." the man answered.

"I see. Why then do you vote to ostracize him?"

"I'm just sick and tired of everybody calling him 'The Just' all the time. What an asshole."