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Therefore, I have not invented a hortatory1 exercise, but have written a moral treatise; and I am going to counsel you on the objects to which young men should aspire and from what actions they should abstain, and with what sort of men they should associate and how they should regulate their own lives. For only those who have travelled this road in life have been able in the true sense to attain to virtue—that possession which is the grandest and the most enduring in the world.

1 This discourse is really hortatory in the general sense of that word, but Isocrates distinguishes it from hortatory (“protreptic”) discourses of the sophists, which were lectures to stimulate interest in whatever kind of learning they professed to teach, commonly oratory.

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