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[2] A characteristic of noble birth is that he who possesses it is more ambitious; for all men, when they start with any good, are accustomed to heap it up, and noble birth is a heritage of honor from one's ancestors. Such men are prone to look down even upon those who are as important as their ancestors,
because the same things1 are more honorable and inspire greater vanity when remote than when they are recent.

1 i.e., the advantages and distinctions the family possessed of old; such distinctions, when possessed by those of later date, are less thought of.

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