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‘Such are the characters of the youthful and elderly; accordingly, since language conformable to their own character, as well as persons similar to themselves, are acceptable to every one, it is plain enough how we are to use our words in order that we and our speeches may assume such and such a character’. The study of the tempers, and manners and habits and modes of thought of these two ages and the rest, will enable us without difficulty to assume the tone and language which are in conformity with the taste of any particular kind of audience which we have to persuade: everybody likes to be addressed in his own style, to hear the sentiments and language which are habitual to himself. τοὺς τῷ σφετέρῳ ἤθει λεγομένους λόγους] Orationes quae dicuntur ad proprios mores, Vetus Translatio;—Quae ingenio moribusque ipsorum convenientes habentur, Victorius;—Quae suis ipsorum moribus convenientes habentur orationes, Riccobon. No notice has been taken of the difficulty of explaining the force of the dative ἤθει after λεγόμενους. In the above translations the first evidently understands it in the sense of spoken to, addressed to, the direct dative. But although λέγειν τινί, to say unto, tell, or bid anyone is allowable Greek, I doubt if that use of it is applicable here. Surely to address to must be rendered by πρὸς τὸ σφέτερον ἦθος, and not by the dative. The other two translations are mere evasions of the difficulty, giving the sense, but not explaining the construction. The only other possible sense of the dative which suggests itself to me, is the instrumental ‘by’: but ‘by the aid of their character’ is I think not a probable, though a possible, mode of expressing the conformity which is here required. The meaning is plain; speeches which express, or are in conformity with, the characters and manners of certain classes, whom we may have to address. As a last resource I venture to propose ὁμολογουμένους as a substitute for λεγομένους; there is no variation of MSS; but it certainly seems possible that the three first letters in the long word in question may have been accidentally decapitated in the course of transcription, and then the remainder λογουμένους would naturally have been converted into λεγομένους.
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