The Saying on Political Wisdom: Arabic Ottoman Manuscript Page from
the Secretum Secretorum attributed to Aristotle. (MS Reis el-Kuttap
(Asir I), 1002.)
Secretum Secretorum (The Secret of Secrets) otherwise known as
The Education of Princes was one of the most popular book of the
Medieval Europe. It first came to Latin from Arabic from Syriac translations of a supposed Greek
original attributed to Aristotle in the 12th Century. The Arabic text is
attributed to Ikhwan al-Safa (the Brotherhood of Purity) of Basra, Iraq
(10th Century) who report to have taken the bulk of it from the
translation of Yahia ibn al-Batriq, a Christian from Syria.
The above saying captured the attention of Ibn
Khaldun (1332-1406) who quotes and analyses it at length in his
Muqaddimah. Ibn Khaldun also quotes -- on the authority of
the historian al-Mas`udi -- a similar saying attributed to Khosraw in
commentary that a "similarly shortened form is ascribed to `Ali [ibn Abi
Talib]", the fourth caliph of Islam and the Prophet's cousin. In the
delightful translation of the octagon offered by Rosenthal we read:
" The world is a garden the fence of which is the dynasty.(*)
 The dynasty is an authority through which life is given to proper
behavior.  Proper behavior is a policy directed by the ruler.  The
ruler is an institution supported by the soldiers.  The soldiers are
helpers who are maintained by money.  Money is sustenance brought
together by subjects.  The subjects are servants who are protected by
justice.  Justice is something familiar, and through it the
world persists. The world is a garden..."
Ibn Khaldun offers the comment:
"... and then it [the octagon] begins again from the beginning.
These are eight sentences on political wisdom. They are connected with
each other, the end of each one leading to the beginning of the next. They
are held together in a circle with no definite beginning or end. (The
author) [presumed to be Aristotle] was proud of what he had hit upon and
made much of the significance of the sentences."
(See, Ibn Khaldun's "The Muqqadimah: An Introduction to History"
translated from the Arabic by Franz Rosenthal, Bollingen Series XLIII,
Pantheon Books, New York, N.Y., 1958, Vol. I:80-82.)
(*) The Arabic word "dawlah" (lit. "state") is translated here as dynasty.
From the verb "daala" (to exchange hands, to deal). The "state" was called
as such because of its dynamic constantly changing state.