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[11] Again, the narrative should be introduced in several places, sometimes not at all at the beginning. In deliberative oratory narrative is very rare, because no one can narrate things to come; but if there is narrative, it will be of things past, in order that, being reminded of them, the hearers may take better counsel about the future. This may be done in a spirit either of blame or of praise; but in that case the speaker does not perform the function of the deliberative orator. If there is anything incredible, you should immediately promise both to give a reason for it at once and to submit it to the judgement of any whom the hearers approve;1 as, for instance, Jocasta in the Oedipus of Carcinus2 is always promising, when the man who is looking for her son makes inquiries
of her; and similarly Haemon in Sophocles.3

1 Omitting τε. The difficulty is διατάττειν, which can apparently only mean “arrange.” Jebb retains τε, and reads ὡς for οἷς: “the speaker must make himself responsible for the fact . . . and marshal his reasons in a way acceptable to the hearers.” The old Latin translation vadiare quibus volunt suggested to Roemer διαιτηταῖς, “to the arbitrators they approve.”

2 According to Jebb, Jocasta tells the inquirer incredible things about her son, and pledges her word for the facts. Cope says: “promises (to do something or other to satisfy him).”

3 Soph. Ant. 683-723. On this Cope remarks: “This last example must be given up as hopeless; there is nothing in the extant play which could be interpreted as required here.” According to Jebb, the “incredibility” consists in the fact that Haemon, although in love with Antigone, and strongly opposed to the sentence pronounced upon her by his father Creon, still remains loyal to the latter. Haemon explains the reason in lines 701-3, where he says that he prizes his father's welfare more than anything else, for a father's good name and prosperity is the greatest ornament for children, as is the son's for the father.

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    • E.C. Marchant, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 7, 7.11
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