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[90] For no man nor any state could obtain a position more excellent than this or more secure or of greater worth. And it was because they acquired just this position that our ancestors in the time of the Persian Wars did not live in the manner of freebooters, now having more than enough for their needs, again reduced to a state of famine and siege1 and extreme misfortune2; on the contrary, while they lived neither in want nor in surfeit of the means of subsistence day by day, they prided themselves on the justice of their polity and on their own virtues, and passed their lives more pleasantly than the rest of the world.

1 They were virtually in a state of seige after the occupation of Decelea by the Spartans, who cut off their food supplies.

2 The terrible plague described by Thucydides (i. 23; ii. 48 ff.).

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