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ζητεῖν...ἐδίδαξεν i.e. their training gives them greater readiness of resource in the search for topics: they know where to look for them. The very phrase τόποι, loci communes, meant those places (in the mind or memory) where classified arguments or illustrations are stored. ‘Those things which they now light upon at random [πλανώμενοι, temere], the discipline teaches them to find by a more ready method’: ἐξ ἑτοιμοτέρου, the comparative only, because, though a systematic training gives the speaker a surer command of his weapons, it cannot enable him to foresee the exact requirements of each occasion. ἀγωνιστὰς...λόγ. ποιητάς ‘It cannot make them good debaters or masterly orators, but it can improve their natural power, and in many respects sharpen their insight’. — ἀγωνιστής, a combatant in real debate, opposed to a mere student or declaimer. Cleon's speech in Thuc. III. 37, 38 brings out this image of debate as an ἀγών: Attic Orators, I. 39.
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