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τὸ πάνυ δοκοῦν—‘the universal opinion of men’: he must try to prove a paradox. (According to another view, the allusion is to the psephism. But (1) τὸ πάνυ δοκοῦν, ‘what is generally agreed upon,’ would hardly be a true description of the vote; and (2) τὸ δόξαν would certainly be natural.) κέρδει—a suggestion of bribery: the charge was a common one against public men, and was often true. The contrast in ἢ . . ἤ is between an opponent who wants to show his skill in oratory and one who is bribed to mislead. ἐκπονή: σας is co-ordinate with πιστεύσας, and ἐπαιρόμενος gives the motive that prompts him ἐκπονεῖν. τὸ εὐπρεπὲς τοῦ λόγου—‘what is plausible in the words.’ The whole of this section is a hit at the bad side of the new rhetoric: it is piquant, because Cleon himself indulges in rhetoric freely; this elaborate comparison to an ἀγών of rival rhetoricians is itself full of it.
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