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[29]

First of all as to their conduct towards the gods—for it is right to begin with them1—they were not erratic or irregular in their worship of them or in the celebration of their rites; they did not, for example, drive three hundred oxen in procession to the altar,2 when it entered their heads to do so,while omitting, when the caprice seized them, the sacrifices instituted by their fathers;3 neither did they observe on a grand scale the festivals imported from abroad, whenever these were attended by a feast, while contracting with the lowest bidder for the sacrifices demanded by the holiest rites of their religion.

1 This is almost poetic formula. Cf. Alcman fr. 3; Theocr. 17.1; Aratus, Phaenomena 1.

2 The reference is, apparently, to special or occasional festivals such as those mentioned in Isoc. 7.10. He may have in mind here the festival held in honor of Chares' victory over Artaxerxes III, since that Athenian general was so generously paid by Artabazus that he could afford to contribute a drove of cattle for the celebration. See Dio. Sic. 16.22.

3 Cf. Isoc. 2.20.

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