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Now Euripides took all this from the Elegies of Xenophanes the Colophonian, who has spoken in this way—
But if a man, in speed of foot victorious,
Or in the contests of the pentathlum,
Where is the sacred grove of Jupiter,
Near to the sacred streamlets of Olympia;
Or as a wrestler, or exchanging blows
And painful struggles as a hardy boxer,
Or in the terrible pancratium,
He surely is a noble citizen,
And well he does deserve the honours due
Of a front seat at games and festivals,
And at the public cost to be maintain'd;
And to receive a public gift of honour,
Which shall become an heirloom to his children.
And such shall be his honours, even if
He wins by horses, not by his own strength.
And still I think he does not equal me;
For wisdom far exceeds in real value
The bodily strength of man, or horses' speed;
But the mob judges of such things at random;
Though 'tis not right to prefer strength to sense:
For though a man may a good boxer be,
Or pentathlete, or never-conquer'd wrestler,
Or if he vanquish all in speed of foot—
Which is the most important of all contests—
Still for all this his city will enjoy
No better laws through his great strength or speed;
And 'tis small cause for any lasting joy,
That one of all her citizens should gain
A prize on Pisa's banks: for such achievements
Fill not the country's granaries with corn.

And Xenophanes contends at great length, and with great earnestness and variety of argument, in favour of the superior advantage of his own wisdom, running down athletic exercises as useless and unprofitable. And Achæus the Eretrian, speaking of the good constitution of the athletes, says— [p. 653]

For naked they did wave their glistening arms,
And move along exulting in their youth,
Their valiant shoulders swelling in their prime
Of health and strength; while they anoint with oil
Their chests and feet and limbs abundantly,
As being used to luxury at home.

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