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Euripides says that it is possible that
Those who with humble gifts approach the gods,
May often holier be, than those who load
The groaning altars with whole hecatombs;
and the word τέλος, which he employs in the first line, means “sacrifice.” And Homer uses the same word when he says—
God holds no sacrifice in more esteem,
Than hearts where pious joy and pleasure beam.1
And we call those festivals which are of greater magnitude and which are celebrated with certain mysterious traditions, τελεταὶ, on account of the expense which is lavished on them. For the word τελέω means to spend. And men who spend a great deal are called πολυτελεῖς, and those who spend but little are called εὐτελεῖς. Alexis says—
Those who with fair prosperity are bless'd,
Should always keep themselves before the world;
Glad to display the bounty of the gods.
For they, the givers of all good, deserve
A holy gratitude; and they will have it.
But if, when they their gifts have shower'd, they see
The objects of their bounty live like churls,
Useless to all around them; who can wonder
If they recall what seems so ill bestow'd?

1 Odyss. ix. 6.

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