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[3] The generality of mankind then show themselves to be utterly slavish, by preferring what is only a life for cattle; but they get a hearing for their view as reasonable because many persons of high position share the feelings of Sardanapallus.1

1 The last two words of the Greek look like a verse passage loosely quoted. Sardanapallus was a mythical Assyrian king; two versions of his epitaph are recorded by Athenaeus (336, 530), one containing the words ἔσθιε, πῖνε, παῖζε: ὡς τἆλλα τούτου οὐκ ἄξια τοῦ ἀποκροτήματος, ‘Eat, drink, play, since all else is not worth that snap of the fingers’; the other ends κεῖν᾽ ἔχω ὅσσ᾽ ἔφαγον καὶ ἐφύβρισα καὶ μετ᾽ ἔρωτος τέρπν᾽ ἔπαθον: τὰ δὲ καὶ ὄλβια πάντα λέλυνται, ‘I have what I ate; and the delightful deeds of wantonness and love which I did and suffered; whereas all my wealth is vanished.’

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