I hope my passion for Rome's past has not impaired my judgement; for I do honestly believe that no country has ever heen greater and purer than ours or richer in good citizens and noble deeds; none has been free for so many generation from the vices of avarice and luxury; nowhere have thrift and plain living been for so long held in such esteem. Indeed. poverty with us went hand in hand with contentment. Of late years wealth has made us greedy, and self-indulgence has brought us, through every form of sensual excess, to be, if I may so put it, in love with death both individual and collective.'
Titus Livy in 'The Early History of Rome'