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But it is not these sophists alone who are open to criticism, but also those who profess to teach political discourse.1 For the latter have no interest whatever in the truth,2 but consider that they are masters of an art if they can attract great numbers of students by the smallness of their charges and the magnitude of their professions and get something out of them. For they are themselves so stupid and conceive others to be so dull that, although the speeches which they compose are worse than those which some laymen improvise, nevertheless they promise to make their students such clever orators that they will not overlook any of the possibilities which a subject affords.

1 The whole field of “deliberative” oratory, but the most “useful” branch of it in “litigious Athens” was the forensic.

2 Their interest was not in the triumph of justice but in making the “worse reason appear the better.” See General Introd. p. xxii.

load focus Notes (Sir Richard C. Jebb, 1888)
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