Εἰ γάρ τις ὑμᾶς ἐρωτήσειε, πότερον ὑμῖν ἐνδοξοτέρα δοκεῖ ἡ πόλις ἡμῶν εἶναι ἐπὶ τῶν νυνὶ καιρῶν ἢ ἐπὶ τῶν προγόνων, ἅπαντες ἂν ὁμολογήσαιτε, ἐπὶ τῶν προγόνων. ἄνδρες δὲ πότερον τότε ἀμείνους ἦσαν ἢ νυνί; τότε μὲν διαφέροντες, νυνὶ δὲ πολλῷ καταδεέστεροι. δωρεαὶ δὲ καὶ στέφανοι καὶ κηρύγματα καὶ σιτήσεις ἐν πρυτανείῳ πότερα τότε ἦσαν πλείους ἢ νυνί; τότε μὲν ἦν σπάνια τὰ καλὰ παρ’ ἡμῖν, καὶ τὸ τῆς ἀρετῆς ὄνομα τίμιον· νυνὶ δ’ ἤδη καταπέπλυται τὸ πρᾶγμα, καὶ τὸ στεφανοῦν ἐξ ἔθους, αλλ’ οὐκ ἐκ προνοίας, ποιεῖσθε. οὐκ οὖν ἄτοπον οὑτωσὶ διαλογιζομένοις, τὰς μὲν δωρεὰς νυνὶ πλείους εἶναι, τὰ δὲ πράγματα τὰ τῆς πόλεως τότε μᾶλλον ἰσχύειν, καὶ τοὺς ἄνδρας νῦν μὲν χείρους εἶναι, τότε δ’ ἀμείνους; (Aeschines, Or. 3.178-179)

If any one should ask you whether our city seems to you more glorious in our own time or in the time of our fathers, you would all agree, in the time of our fathers. And were there better men then than now? Then, eminent men; but now, far inferior. But rewards and crowns and proclamations, and maintenance in the Prytaneum – were these things more common then than now? Then, honors were rare among us, and the name of virtue was itself an honor. But now the custom is already completely faded out, and you do the crowning as a matter of habit, not deliberately. Are you not therefore surprised, when you look at it in this light, that the rewards are now more numerous, but the city was then more prosperous? And that the men are now inferior, but were better then? (tr. Charles Darwin Adams)

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