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[50] We glory and take great pride in being better born than the rest but we are readier to share this noble birth-right with any who desire it1 than are the Triballians or the Leucanians2 to share their ignoble origin. We pass a multitude of laws,3 but we care so little about them (for if I give you a single instance you will be able to judge of the others as well) that, although we have prescribed the penalty of death for anyone who is convicted of bribery, we elect men who are most flagrantly guilty of this crime as our generals4 and we pick out the man who has been able to deprave the greatest number of our citizens and place him in charge of the most important affairs.

1 The Athenians were less conservative in the matter of citizenship than other states. Cleisthenes gave citizenship to the resident aliens in Athens at the time of his reforms. In 427 citizenship was conferred upon all the people of Plataeae. From time to time numerous individuals were admitted to this privilege.

2 The Triballians were a savage tribe in the interior of Thrace(see Isoc. 12.227); the Lucanians a rude people, noted for their ferocity, in Southern Italy.

3 See Isoc. 7.40-41.

4 This seems to be a covert attack upon Chares, who according to Theopompus (in Athenaeus xii. 532) paid money to the orators to advocate a war policy, especially to the orator Aristophon, who may be alluded to in 36 and in this paragraph. Chares in the field and Aristophon on the rostrum were the leaders of Athenian jingoism at this time.

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