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and again, we know that while the Carthaginians and the Lacedaemonians, who are the best governed peoples of the world,Socrates and his followers idealized, in contrast to the slackness of Athens, the rigorous rule of such states as Sparta and Crete. See, for example, Plat. Crito 52e. Aristotle couples in his praise, as Isocrates here, the Spartans and the Carthaginians: Aristot. Pol. 1272b 24 ff. are ruled by oligarchies at home, yet, when they take the field, they are ruled by kings. One mite. See, for example, Plat. Crito 52e. Aristotle couples in his praise, as Isocrates here, the Spartans and the Carthaginians: Aristot. Pol. 1272b 24 ff. are ruled by oligarchies at home, yet, when they take the field, they are ruled by kings. One might also point out that the stateAthens. which more than any other abhors absolute rule meets with disaster when it sends out many generals,As in the disasters at Syracuse and Aegospotami. and with success when it wages war under a single leader.
Do not form political societies or unionsPolitical clubs may have been patriotic in old Athens （ Isoc. 4.79） but they had now degenerated into secret associations conspiring against popular government. See Isoc. 4.167; Thuc. 8.54; Aristot. Ath. Pol. 34. without my sanction; for such associations may be an advantage in the other forms of government, but in monarchies they are a danger. Abstain not merely from wrongdoing, but also from such conduct as must needs arouse suspicion. Believe that my friendship is very sure and abidi
Many times have I wondered at those who first convoked the national assemblies and established the athletic games,Pan-Hellenic gatherings at the Olympic, Pythian, Nemean and Isthmian games, including also the Pan-atheniac festival at Athens. See Gardner and Jevons, Manual of Greek Antiquities, pp. 269 ff. amazed that they should have thought the prowess of men's bodies to be deserving of so great bounties, while to those who had toiled in private for the public good and trained their own minds so as to be able to help also their fellow-men they apportioned no reward whatsoever,This is not quite exact （see Lys. 33.2）, nor consistent with § 45 where he mentions contests of intellect and prizes for them. But the mild interest which these evoked served but to emphasize the excess of enthusiasm for athletics against which Isocrates here and elsewhere protests. Cf. Isoc. 15.250 and Isoc. Letter 8.5. The complaint is older than Isocrates. See Xenophanes, Fr.
that it is possible to discourse on the same subject matter in many different ways—to represent the great as lowly or invest the little with grandeur, to recount the things of old in a new manner or set forth events of recent date in an old fashionThe author of the treatise On the Sublime, 38, quotes this passage and condemns Isocrates' “puerility” in thus dwelling on the power of rhetoric when leading up to his praise of Athens, and so arousing distrust of his sincerity. But the objection loses its force if Isocrates is here using what had become a conventionalized statement of the power of oratory. This it probably was. Plut. Orat. 838f, attributes to Isocrates the definition of rhetoric as the means of making “small things great and great things small.” A similar view is attributed to the rhetoricians Tisias and Gorgias in Plat. Phaedrus 267a, who are credited with “making small things appear great and great things small, and with presenting new things in an old way and old
For the Hellenes are subject, some to us, others to the Lacedaemonians, the politiesThe Greek states which were under the influence of Athens were democratic; those under Sparta's influence, oligarchic. by which they govern their states having thus divided most of them. If any man, therefore, thinks that before he brings the leading states into friendly relations, the rest will unite in doing any good thing, he is all too simple and out of touch with the actual conditions.
and, secondly, if this is impossible, in order that I may show who they are that stand in the way of the happiness of the Hellenes, and that all may be made to see that even as in times past Athens justly held the sovereignty of the sea, so now she not unjustly lays claim to the hegemony.This claim was made good two years later when the new confederacy was formed. See General Introd. p. xxxvii. The Greek word “hegemony”—leadership, supremacy—is often used in the particular sense of acknowledged headship of confederated states, a
for to the latter they left the home country—sufficient for their needs—and for the former they provided more land than they had owned since they embraced in their conquests all the territory which we Hellenes now possess.For the traditional “Ionic migration,” led by Athens, in the course of which settlements were made in Samos and Chios and in the islands of the Cyclades, in Asia Minor, and on the shores of the Black Sea, see Isoc. 12.43-44, 166, 190; Thuc. 1.2.6; Grote, History of Greece （new edition）, ii. pp. 21 ff. And so they smoothed the way for those also who in a later time resolved to send out colonists and imitate our city; for these did not have to undergo the perils of war in acquiring territory, but could go into the country marked out by us and se
Moreover, she has established her polity in general in such a spirit of welcome to strangersThucydides in Pericles' funeral oration emphasizes the open hospitality of Athens to foreigners and strangers, Thuc. 2.39.1. and friendlinessThe word oi)kei/ws suggests me/toikoi, the foreign residents, who numbered about one-third of the free population of Athens. to all men, that it adapts itself both to those who lack means and to those who wish to enjoy the means which they possess, and that it failsessThe word oi)kei/ws suggests me/toikoi, the foreign residents, who numbered about one-third of the free population of Athens. to all men, that it adapts itself both to those who lack means and to those who wish to enjoy the means which they possess, and that it fails to be of service neither to those who are prosperous nor to those who are unfortunate in their own cities; nay, both classes find with us what they desire, the former the most delightful pastimes, the latter the securest refuge.