ns that you readily divine; but it would be easy to prove that also in this respect posterity has seen the evil much larger than it was.
Why, then, did the ancient writers bewail luxury, inclination to pleasure, prodigality--things all comprised in the notorious "corruption"--in so much the livelier fashion than do moderns, although they lived in a world which, being poorer and more simple, could amuse itself, make display, and indulge in dissipation so much less than we do? This is one of the chief questions of Roman history, and I flatter myself not to have entirely wasted work in writing my book  above all, because I hope to have contributed a little, if not actually to solve this question, at least to illuminate it; because in so doing I believe I have found a kind of key that opens at the same time many mysteries in Roman history and in contemporary life. The ancient writers and moralists wrote so much of Roman corruption, because--nearer in this, as in so many other things, to the vivid actual
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