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I am aware, too, that on one occasion there was a contest of beauty instituted among women. And Nicias, speaking of it in his History of Arcadia, says that Cypselus instituted it, having built a city in the plain which is watered by the Alpheus; in which he established some Parrhasians, and consecrated a plot of sacred ground and an altar to Ceres of Eleusis, in whose festival it was that he had instituted this contest of beauty. And he says that the woman who gained the victory in this contest was Herodice. And [p. 973] even to this day this contest is continued; and the women who contend in it are called Goldbearing. And Theophrastus says that there is also a contest of beauty which takes place among the Eleans, and that the decision is come to with great care and deliberation; and that those who gain the victory receive arms as their prize, which Dionysius of Leuctra says are offered up to Minerva. And he says, too, that the victor is adorned with fillets by his friends, and goes in procession to the temple; and that a crown of myrtle is given to him (at least this is the statement of Myrsilus, in his Historical Paradoxes). “But in some places,” says the same Theophrastus, “there are contests between the women in respect of modesty and good management, as there are among the barbarians; and at other places also there are contests about beauty, on the ground that this also is entitled to honour, as for instance, there are in Tenedos and Lesbos. But they say that this is the gift of chance, or of nature; but that the honour paid to modesty ought to be one of a greater degree. For that it is in consequence of modesty that beauty is beautiful; for without modesty it is apt to be subdued by intemperance.”
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