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We must next speak of the Lacedæmonian banquets. Now Herodotus, in the ninth book of his Histories, speaking of the preparation of Mardonius, and mentioning the banquets of the Lacedæmonians, says—“Xerxes, when fleeing from Greece, left all his equipment to Mardonius. And when Pausanias beheld the appointments of Mardonius's tent, and his tent itself all furnished with gold and silver and embroidered curtains, he ordered the bakers and confectioners to prepare him a supper exactly as they had been in the habit of preparing for Mardonius. And when they had done as they were commanded, Pausanias, beholding the couches of gold and silver all ready laid and covered, and the silver tables, and the superb banquet which was prepared, marvelling at what he saw, by way of ridicule ordered his own slaves to prepare a banquet in the Lacedæmonian fashion. But when it was made ready, Pausanias laughed, and sent for all the generals of the Greeks; and when they were come he showed them both the banquets which were prepared before him, and said: O Greeks, I have assembled you, because I was desirous to exhibit to you the folly of the general of the Medes; who, while he was used himself to live in the manner which you behold, came against us who are in the habit of living in the hard way which you see here.” And some say that a citizen of Sybaris, who was staying at Sparta, and who dined at their Phiditia, said—“It is natural enough for the Lacedæmonians to be the bravest of men; for any man in his senses would rather die ten thousand times over, than live in such a miserable way as this.”
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