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If we did not observe that the Thebans have schemed to win you over, by fair means or foul, to their contention that they have done us no wrong, we could have finished our plea in a few words. But since we have reached such a state of misfortune that we must struggle, not only against them, but also against the ablest of your orators, men whom they have hired with our resources to be their advocates1 we must explain our cause at greater length.

1 Athenian venal advocates are meant.

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