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[16] As to the subject under discussion its practicability is either certain or uncertain. In the latter case this will be the chief, if not the only point for consideration; for it will often happen that we shall assert first that something ought not to be done, even if it can be done, and secondly, that it cannot be done. Now when the question turns on such points as to whether the Isthmus can be cut through, the Pontine Marshes drained, or a harbour constructed at Ostia, or whether Alexander is likely to find land beyond the Ocean,1 we make use of conjecture.

1 the theme of a suasoria of the elder Seneca (Suas. i.). “Alexander deliberates whether to sail forth into the ocean.”

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load focus Introduction (Harold Edgeworth Butler, 1920)
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