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The fact is that, although I have known that some of the sophists1 traduce my occupation, saying that it has to do with writing speeches for the courts,2 very much as one might have the effrontery to call Pheidias, who wrought our statue of Athena,3 a doll-maker, or say that Zeuxis and Parrhasius4 practiced the same art as the sign-painters,5 nevertheless I have never deigned to defend myself against their attempts to belittle me,

1 The term “sophist” is used loosely throughout the discourse, sometimes as the equivalent of wise man, but more often, as here, of a professional teacher of philosophy and oratory. See General Introd. p. xii, note a .

2 See General Introd. p. xx, and note c .

3 The “gold and ivory” statue of Athena which stood in the Parthenon.

4 Zeuxis and Parrhasius sojourned in Athens about 400 B.C.

5 Literally, painters of votive tablets set up in temples as thank-offerings for deliverance from sickness or from dangers on the sea. Cf. Tibullus 1.3.27-28: nunc, dea, nunc succurre mihi, nam posse mederi/picta docet templis multa tabella tuis.

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