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(īsŏk`rətēz), 436–338 B.C., one of the Ten Attic Orators. He was a pupil of Socrates and of the Sophists. Perhaps the greatest teacher in Greek history, he taught every younger orator of his time. He did not deliver his speeches, but either wrote for litigants (six such speeches survive) or wrote discourses to be read (15 of which remain) dealing mainly with politics and education. Panegyricus (in which he urges Hellenic unity against Persia) is his most celebrated oration. Isocrates committed suicide (according to tradition) after the defeat of Athens by Philip II of Macedon at Chaeronea.



Born 436 b.c. in Athens; died there in 338 b.c. Ancient Greek publicist.

A student of the sophists and influenced by Socrates, Isocrates was the author of political pamphlets written in the form of speeches. He consistently upheld the interests of the upper class of slaveholding society. In his first and most important publicistic work, the Panegyricus (380), he urged the Greeks to unite politically for a joint military campaign against the East. Isocrates regarded a Panhellenic war against the Persians as a means of overcoming the political fragmentation of Hellas and solving social problems, including poverty. In his subsequent works he argued the advantages of a monarchy over a republic (known as the speeches to the citizens of Cyprus) and criticized democracy as a form of government, in particular condemning the foreign policy of Theban democracy (the speeches Plataicus and Archidamus) and the policies of Athens (On the Peace and Areopagiticus). In his last years Isocrates appealed to the Macedonian king Philip II to unify Hellas and lead the Greeks against the Persians. His extant works consisting of 21 speeches and nine letters, of which some are thought to be spurious, are a valuable source for studying the sociopolitical history and culture of Greece in the fourth century B.C.


Discours, 4 vols. Paris, 1928–62.
In Russian translation:
Vestnik drevnei istorii, 1965, nos. 3, 4; 1966, nos. 1–4; 1967, nos. 1, 3–4; 1968, nos. 1-; 1969, nos. 1–2.


Borukhovich, V. G., and E.D. Frolov. “Publitsisticheskaia deiatel’nost’ Isokrata.” Vestnik drevnei istorii, 1969, no. 2.
Blass, F. Die attische Beredsamkeit, 2nd ed., part 2. Leipzig, 1892.
Cloché, P. Isocrate et son temps. Paris, 1963.



436--338 bc, Athenian rhetorician and teacher
References in periodicals archive ?
113-131; Bringman, K.(1965) , Studien zu denpolitischen Ideen des Isokrates, Gottingen; Campbell, B.
On the other hand, I am fairly confident that most readers will wonder that Isokrates has done to deserve two pages to himself (185-7), when Solon's seisakhtheia rates no more than an unsatisfactory ten lines (84-5).
Androtion was reputedly a pupil of the Athenian rhetorician Isokrates. Harding takes this occasion to continue the controversy concerning Isokrates's political influence in fourth-century Athenian life.
Apart from what we read in Herodotos, the only mention of Kleisthenes in classical prose is in Isokrates' essays and in Aristotle's treatises: the Politics and the Constitution of Athens.
Isokrates also states that the Thessalians in 346 B.C.
He was railed against by Demosthenes, admired by Aeschines, and courted by philosophers like Isokrates; numerous documents attest to his activities as well as those of his opponents; finally, the contemporary historian Theopompus wrote a massive work in fifty-eight books about Philip (and everything else), entitled Philippika, which began with the provocative dictum, "Europe has never produced such a man at all as Philip, the son of Amyntas." But this great work only survives in fragments and the other references are scattered; so, Bradford has elected to recreate "the life of Philip, as his contemporaries - and their descendants - knew him" (xv) from an edited compilation of the ancient sources in translation.