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Upon this Aper replied, You still persist, Messala, in admiring only what is old and antique and in sneering at and disparaging the culture of our own day. I have often heard this sort of talk from you, when, forgetting the eloquence of yourself and your brother, you argued that nobody in this age is an orator. And you did this, I believe, with the more audacity because you were not afraid of a reputation for ill-nature, seeing that the glory which others concede to you, you deny to yourself. I feel no penitence, said Messala, for such talk, nor do I believe that Secundus or Maternus or you yourself, Aper, think differently, though now and then you argue for the opposite view. I could wish that one of you were prevailed on to investigate and describe to us the reasons of this vast difference. I often inquire into them by myself. That which consoles some minds, to me increases the difficulty. For I perceive that even with the Greeks it has happened that there is a greater distance between Aeschines and Demosthenes on the one hand, and your friend Nicetes or any other orator who shakes Ephesus or Mitylene with a chorus of rhetoricians and their noisy applause, on the other, than that which separates Afer, Africanus, or yourselves from Cicero or Asinius.

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