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[14] The refutation of the opponent is not a particular kind of proof; his arguments should be refuted partly by objection, partly by counter-syllogism.1 In both deliberative and forensic rhetoric he who speaks first should state his own proofs and afterwards meet the arguments of the opponent, refuting or pulling them to pieces beforehand. But if the opposition is varied,2 these arguments should be dealt with first, as Callistratus did in the Messenian assembly; in fact, it was only after he had first refuted what his opponents were likely to say that he put forward his own proofs.

1 In the translation τῶν πίστεων is taken with ἔστι: it is the business of, the proper function of, proofs. Others take it with τὰ μὲν . . . τὰ δέ: some . . . other (of the opponent's arguments).

2 If the opponent's arguments are numerous and strong, by reason of the varied nature of the points dealt with.

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