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Ancient and modern

The unflattering truth about the battle for No. 10

30 July 2022

9:00 AM

30 July 2022

9:00 AM

The battle to be PM raises the question: in a functioning democracy, how should arguments be won? Surely, by persuasion. But for ancient Greeks, too often it seemed to be by flattery.

The Greek for ‘flatterer’ was kolax, and a comedian described a kolax’s lifestyle as follows: he would dress up in his best cloak, hire a slave and head off into town looking for someone rich and stupid, whom he would load with grotesque flattery.

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