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Now I am not unaware that many of the Hellenes look upon the King's power as invincible.Cf. Isoc. 4.138 ff. Yet one may well marvel at them if they really believe that the power which was subdued to the will of a mere barbarian—an ill-bredCyrus. See 66. barbarian at that—and collected in the cause of slavery, could not be scattered by a man of the blood of Hellas, of ripe experience in warfare, in the cause of freedom—and that too although they know that while it is in all cases difficult to construct a thing, to destroy it is, comparatively, an easy
Bear in mind that the men whom the world most admires and honors are those who unite in themselves the abilities of the statesman and the general. When, therefore, you see the renown which even in a single city is bestowed on men who possess these gifts, what manner of eulogies must you expect to hear spoken of you, when among all the Hellenes you shall stand forth as a statesman who has worked for the good of Hellas, and as a general who has overthrown the barbarians?
And yet we know that the bravest and most famous of them held their sway in little villages and petty islands; nevertheless they left behind them a name which rivals that of the gods and is renowned throughout the world. For all the world loves, not those who have acquired the greatest power for themselves alone, but those who have shown themselves to be the greatest benefactors of Hellas.
no, all these things have been the source of many complaints against her, while because of the battle of Marathon, the naval battle at Salamis, and most of all because her citizens abandoned their own homes to insure the deliverance of Hellas,For these services see Isoc. 4.91-96. she enjoys the encomiums of all mankind. The same opinion is held regarding the Lacedaemonians also;
Now if, after examining and reviewing all these admonitions in your own mind, you feel that my discourse is in any part rather weak and inadequate,For like apologies see Isoc. 15.9; Isoc. 12.4; Isoc. Letter 6.6. set it down to my age, which might well claim the indulgence of all; but if it is up to the standard of my former publications, I would have you believe that it was not my old age that conceived it but the divine will that prompted it, not out of solicitude for me, but because of its concern for Hellas, and because of its desire to deliver her out of her present distress and to crown you with a glory far greater than you now possess.
It remains, then, to summarize what I have said in this discourse, in order that you may see in the smallest compass the substance of my counsels. I assert that it is incumbent upon you to work for the good of the Hellenes, to reign as king over the Macedonians,The indigenous Macedonians are regarded as half barbarians. and to extend your power over the greatest possible number of the barbarians. For if you do these things, all men will be grateful to you: the Hellenes for your kindness to them; the Macedonians if you reign over them, not like a tyrant, but like a king; and the rest of the nations, if by your hands they are delivered from barbaric despotism and are brought under the protection of Hellas.
Now you, I know, following this reasoning, disdain my coming forward, and are confident that with this power you will hold all Hellas under your control. But as for myself, it is because of these very things that I am anxious; for I observe that those cities which think they are in the best circumstances are wont to adopt the worst policies, and that those which feel the most secure are most often involved in danger.
For when all Hellas fell under the power of Athens, after the naval victory of Conon and the campaign of Timotheus, we were not able to hold our good fortune any time at all, but quickly dissipated and destroyed it.In the disastrous “Social War.” For we neither possess nor do we honestly seek to obtain a polity which can properly deal with our affai
a government than which we could find none more favorable to the populace or more advantageous to the whole city.For Solon and Cleisthenes as the authors of the restricted democracy of Athens cf. Isoc. 15.232. For Isocrates' political ideas see General Introduction p. xxxviii. The strongest proof of this is that those who enjoyed this constitution wrought many noble deeds, won the admiration of all mankind, and took their place, by the common consent of the Hellenes, as the leading power of Hellas; whereas those who were enamored of the present constitution made themselves hated of all men, suffered many indignities, and barely escaped falling into the worst of all disasters.Cf. Isoc. 7.6 and note.