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[53] For even the public festivals, which might otherwise have drawn many to the city, were not conducted with extravagance or ostentation, but with sane moderation, since our people then measured their well-being, not by their processions or by their efforts to outdo each other in fitting out the choruses,1 or by any such empty shows, but by the sobriety of their government, by the manner of their daily life, and by the absence of want among all their citizens.

These are the standards by which one should judge whether people are genuinely prosperous and not living in vulgar fashion.

1 The training and fitting out of a chorus for a dramatic festival was one of the services (liturgies) rendered to the state by the more wealthy citizens. See Isoc. 8.128, note. Isocrates here complains of the expensive and ostentatious rivalry in such matters. See below: “garments spangled with gold.” The cost of such a service in some cases amounted to as much as five thousand drachmas.

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