previous next

Early relations with the Sophists.

Nearly all the popular sophists of that day are named as teachers of Isokrates1. Prodikos, skilled in the distinguishing of synonyms, seems to have been esteemed by Sokrates; and it is probable that Isokrates, like Xenophon, was a pupil of both. Protagoras may have helped to form, by grammatical studies, a style which was afterwards as correct as it was free. Theramenes was the master through whom Isokrates first knew the art of Gorgias. Of all the merely literary influences which reached
Isokrates, that of Gorgias was by far the strongest. Isokrates was not, indeed, a mere imitator. His matured style was not only severer but more completely artistic than that of Gorgias can ever have been. But the first literary inspiration of Isokrates came from the great Sicilian rhetorician; and it is another proof of the astonishing natural force, the power of impressing and fascinating, which Gorgias certainly possessed. It was probably not until about 390 B. C., after he had begun his professional life at Athens, that Isokrates came into personal contact with Gorgias. He then visited Gorgias in Thessaly2; and, in all likelihood, brought back with him the idea of the work which occupied him for the next ten years,—the Panegyrikos.

1 Prodikos is named by [Plut.], Suidas and the anon. biographer (in Dind. ed. of Isokr. 1825):— Protagoras by Suid.: Theramenes by [Plut.], Dionys., Anon.: Gorgias by [Plut.], Dionys., Suid., Anon. Tisias is added, no doubt wrongly, by [Plut.] Dionys., Suid.; and Suidas gives Ἐργῖνος,—corrected by Ruhnken (Hist. Crit. p. 60) into Ἀρχῖνος (the patriot of 403: Dem. in Timocr. § 135).

2 Orator § 167. For the residence of Gorgias in Thessaly, Isokr. Antid. §§ 155, 6.—J. G. Pfundt, de Isocr. vita et scriptis p. 14, puts the visit in Ol. 97,— 390—386 B.C. The Panegyrikos belongs to 380 B.C.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide References (1 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Selections from the Attic Orators, 13.14
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: