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16. The characters which accompany wealth are plain for all to see. The wealthy are insolent and arrogant, being mentally affected by the acquisition of wealth, for they seem to think that they possess all good things;
for wealth is a kind of standard of value of everything else, so that everything seems purchasable by it. [2] They are luxurious and swaggerers, luxurious because of their luxury and the display of their prosperity, swaggerers and ill-mannered because all men are accustomed to devote their attention to what they like and admire, and the rich suppose that what they themselves are emulous of is the object of all other men's emulation. At the same time this feeling is not unreasonable; for those who have need of the wealthy are many in number. Hence the answer of Simonides to the wife of Hiero concerning the wise and the rich, when she asked which was preferable, to be wise or to be rich. “Rich,” he answered, “for we see the wise spending their time at the doors of the rich.” [3] And the rich think they are worthy to rule, because they believe they possess that which makes them so.1 In a word, the character of the rich man is that of a fool favored by fortune. [4] At the same time there is a difference between the character of the newly rich and of those whose wealth is of long standing, because the former have the vices of wealth in a greater degree and more; for, so to say, they have not been educated to the use of wealth. Their unjust acts are not due to malice, but partly to insolence, partly to incontinence, which tends to make them commit assault and battery and adultery.

1 “What makes power worth having” (Cope).

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load focus Notes (E. M. Cope, 1877)
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