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[105] Mark how the men who lived at Athens then excelled in public, and in private life; so greatly that when in days gone by the Spartans, so renowned for courage, were at war with the Messenians the god advised them to take a leader from us; for so they would defeat their enemies. And yet if the god decided that the leaders sent from Athens were better than the two descendants of Heracles who in succession reign at Sparta, must we not conclude that nothing could surpass the valor of our ancestors?

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