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[74]

However, I am not able to see clearly, but am in doubt, with what words I may proceed without making an error of judgement. For, on the one hand, I am ashamed, after having said so much about the virtue of Agamemnon, to make no mention of the things which he accomplished and so to seem to my hearers no different from men who make empty boasts and say whatever comes into their heads. But I observe, on the other hand, that the discussion of things which lie outside the scope of the subject1 is not approved but is thought rather to be confusing, and that while many misuse these digressions there are many more who condemn them.

1 Digressions such as the praise of Theseus in Isoc. 10 and of Timotheus in Isoc. 15 are effective elements of variety. the praise of Agamemnon here seems awkwardly dragged in. It is commonly thought that Agamemnon is a masque for Philip of Macedon. (See, for example, Blass, Die attische Beredsamkeit 2, pp. 331, 334.) The simplest explanation, however, is hinted at in Isoc. 12.76. Agamemnon stood out in his mind as the first leader of all Hellas against the East—the first champion of the cause to which Isocrates dedicated his life.

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