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Private Life of Isokrates.

The private life of Isokrates was too evenly prosperous to have a history. He is said to have taught his Athenian pupils gratis, and to have taken fees only from foreigners1. However this may be, the wealth derived from his school appears to have excited the envy of his rivals; and he says that they exaggerated it2. He was one of the 1200 richest citizens3 who, after the financial reform of 378 B.C., formed the twenty unions (or ‘symmories’) for the assessment of the war-tax; he had thrice been trierarch; and had besides discharged other public services in a liberal manner. On marrying Plathanê, the widow of Hippias of Elis, he adopted Aphareus, one of her three sons,—afterwards a rhetorician and a tragic poet of some mark. It was a somewhat rare distinction for an eminent Athenian to have had only one lawsuit4; and in this—a challenge to take the trierarchy, or exchange properties, offered to him in 345 by one Megakleides—Isokrates, who was ill at the time, was represented in court by Aphareus. The verdict seems to have gone against him5.

1 Anon. Biogr. ἐλάμβανε δὲ χρήματα πάμπολλα ὑπὲρ τῆς διδασκαλίας, παρὰ μὲν τῶν πολιτῶν οὐδέν, ὥσπερ γέρας τοῦτο κατατιθέμενος καὶ τροφεῖα καταβάλλων τῇ πατρίδι, παρὰ δὲ τῶν ξένων χιλίας δραχμάς. Kyprianos (ἀπόρρητα τοῦ Ἰσοκρ. p. 30) takes this statement as literally true, and refers, in support of it, to the language of Isokr. himself in Antid. §§ 39, 146, 164. These passages say merely (1) that Isokr. did not live, like the forensic rhetoricians, on the lawsuits of his fellow-citizens; and (2) that his wealth came chiefly from the gifts of foreigners.See, on the other hand, Dem. πρὸς Λάκριτον (Or. XXXV). Lakritos had been a pupil of Isokrates (§ 15)—and, says the speaker, πιστεύει τῷ λέγειν καὶ ταῖς χιλίαις δραχμαῖς ἃς δέδωκε τῷ διδασκάλῳ (§ 42). Cf. ib. § 40, εἴ τις βούλεται σοφιστὴς εἶναι καὶ Ἰσοκράτει ἀργύριον ἀναλίσκειν. It is conceivable, of course, that there should have been an earlier and a later period of his practice in this respect.

2 Antid. §§ 155 f.

3 ib. § 145.

4 As to the mistake of the pseudoPlutarch in saying that Isokr. was twice challenged to an antidosis, see below, introd. to Or. XV.

5 Antid. § 5.

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