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[679a] For they had no lack of flocks and herds (except perhaps some of them at the outset), and in that age these were what men mostly lived on: thus they were well supplied with milk and meat, and they procured further supplies of food, both excellent and plentiful, by hunting. They were also well furnished with clothing and coverlets and houses, and with vessels for cooking and other kinds; for no iron is required for the arts of moulding and weaving, [679b] which two arts God gave to men to furnish them with all these necessaries, in order that the human race might have means of sprouting and increase whenever it should fall into such a state of distress. Consequently, they were not excessively poor, nor were they constrained by stress of poverty to quarrel one with another; and, on the other hand, since they were without gold and silver, they could never have become rich. Now a community which has no communion with either poverty or wealth is generally the one in which the noblest characters will be formed; [679c] for in it there is no place for the growth of insolence and injustice, of rivalries and jealousies. So these men were good, both for these reasons and because of their simple-mindedness, as it is called; for, being simple-minded, when they heard things called bad or good, they took what was said for gospel-truth and believed it. For none of them had the shrewdness of the modern man to suspect a falsehood; but they accepted as true the statements made about gods and men, and ordered their lives by them. Thus they were entirely of the character we have just described. [679d]

Certainly Megillus and I quite agree with what you say.

And shall we not say that people living in this fashion for many generations were bound to be unskilled, as compared with either the antediluvians or the men of today, and ignorant of arts in general and especially of the arts of war as now practised by land and sea, including those warlike arts which, disguised under the names of law-suits and factions, are peculiar to cities, contrived as they are with every device of word and deed to inflict mutual hurt and injury; [679e] and that they were also more simple and brave and temperate, and in all ways more righteous? And the cause of this state of things we have already explained.

Quite true.

We must bear in mind that the whole purpose of what we have said and of what we are going to say next is this,—that we may understand

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