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AELIUS ARISTIDES, ORATIONS

2 ΠΡΟΣ ΠΛΑΤΩΝΑ ΥΠΕΡ ΡΗΤΟΡΙΚΗΣ

[Introductory Remarks and Statement of Purpose; Plato’s Outrageous Attack on Oratory in the Gorgias (1–31)]

οἶμαι δεῖν ὅστις μέλλει τὰ δέοντα ἐρεῖν, ἢ ψήφου κύριος ὀρθῶς ἔσεσθαι, μὴ τοῦτο σκοπεῖν μηδὲ βασκαίνειν εἴ τινι τῶν πρότερον καὶ δόξαν ἐχόντων ἑτέρως εἰρῆσθαι περὶ τῶν αὐτῶν συμβέβηκεν, ἀλλ’ οὗ πανταχοῦ πλεῖστον εἰκός ἐστι λόγον εἶναι, τοῦτο κἀν τῷ παρόντι ζητεῖν, ὁποτέρωθι τἀληθές, καὶ τοῦτο συμβούλεσθαι νικᾶν. 2ἄτοπον γὰρ ἐν μὲν ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις μὴ τὸν πρῶτον εἰπόντα πιστεύεσθαι μηδ’ ἐν τοῖς δικαστηρίοις, ἀλλὰ τοῦτό γε εὖ εἰδέναι πάντας, ὅτι εἰ ταύτῃ ταῦτα κριθήσεται, τῶν φευγόντων οὐδεὶς ἀποφεύξεται· πάντες γὰρ ὕστεροι δήπου τοῦ διώκοντος λέγουσιν· ἐν δὲ τοῖς λόγοις αὐτοῖς καὶ τῇ περὶ τούτων κρίσει τοὺς τῷ χρόνῳ προλαβόντας κρατεῖν, ἀλλὰ μὴ τοὺς ἀποδείξοντας περὶ ὧν ἀγωνίζονται, καὶ τραγῳδοὺς μὲν καὶ κιθαριστὰς καὶ τοὺς ἄλλους τοὺς

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2. A REPLY TO PLATO

2 A REPLY TO PLATO: IN DEFENSE OF ORATORY

Introductory Remarks and Statement of Purpose; Plato’s Outrageous Attack on Oratory in the Gorgias (1–31)

If a man is to say what he should or cast his vote as he ought, I believe it is essential that, rather than looking jealously to see if any famous authority from the past happens to have had a different opinion on the matter, he should instead apply to the case in hand the question that ought always to carry the most weight, and ask which side of the argument the truth lies on; this is the side that he too ought to wish to prevail. 2It would indeed be strange if in assemblies and courts of law a speaker is not believed just because he speaks first—everyone knows very well that, if this is how such matters were decided, no defendant would ever be acquitted, because of course the defendant always speaks after the prosecutor—but when it comes to words themselves and exercising judgment over them, victory should go to those who get in first in order of speaking, and not to those who are actually going to prove their case. For tragic poets and lyre players and the

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aelius_aristides-oration_2_reply_to_plato.2017