Areop. [VII] §§ 51—54.
In the Areopagitikos
he is contrasting the social Athens of 500 B.C. with that of 355 B.C.:—
‘Under the supervision of that Council, the city was not distracted with law-suits and grievances and taxes and penury and wars; people lived on good terms with their neighbours and peaceably with all men. Athenians were the trust of Greece and the terror of barbarians; they had saved their country, and had so punished the enemy that he was glad enough to be let alone. And so, thanks to this, they lived in such security that the houses and establishments in the country were handsomer and richer than those within the wall,—many citizens never coming to town even for the festivals, but preferring their own snug homes to a share in the bounty of the State. The public spectacles, for which they might have come, were managed sensibly, and not with an insolent profusion. People did not measure happiness by shows, or by rivalries in the equipment of a chorus, or by the like forms of pretentiousness, but by soberness of life, by everyday comfort, by the absence of destitution among citizens. These are the tests of a real prosperity as distinguished from a policy of low makeshifts. Is there any sane man who can help being stung by what goes on nowa-days — when he sees numbers of citizens actually drawing lots for daily bread before the lawcourts, yet condescending to feed any Greeks who
will row their ships for them,—coming on the stage in golden apparel, and passing the winter in garments of which the less said the better—with the rest of those economical contrasts which redound to the infamy of Athens?’