Since, then, we have said that tranquillity is the good condition of a city in respect of the action of its parts, we must in consequence consider what the city is in itself, and what it is for; what and how many are its principal parts; the action appropriate to each of them, their causes, and their ordering in respect of each other. For these considerations are fundamental to the complete delineation of tranquillity and its opposite.
However, before we discuss the city – which is the perfect community – and its species or modes, we ought first to introduce the origin of civil communities and their regimes and ways of living. From these, as from the imperfect, men have progressed to perfect communities and regimes and ways of living in them. For nature's path, and that of art which imitates her, is always from the less to the more perfect. And men are not judged to know any particular thing unless they know it together with its primary causes and its first principles right down to its elements.
So, proceeding in this fashion, we should be aware that civil communities (according to their different times and places) have begun small, and by gradually receiving an increase have in the end been brought to completion – as we have just said happens in every action of nature or art. For the first and minimum human combination, from which all others have arisen, is that of male and female, as the best of philosophers says in Politics I, chapter 1, and is further apparent from his Economics. This combination produced more human beings, who first of all filled one household; and then as further combinations of this type occurred, the multiplication of human beings was so great that one household was insufficient for them and it was necessary to set up several households. A plurality of these is called a village or neighbourhood, and this (as Aristotle also writes, as above) was the first community.