The more things change. . .

Being at leisure, they consumed time and substance in games and women; they studied to appear splendid in their dress, and to be clever and smart in their speech, and he who was more deft at biting the others was wiser and more esteemed.


Machiavelli, Florentine Histories 7.28, trans. Laura F. Banfield Harvey C. Mansfield Jr. (Princeton, 1990), 307.