previous next

Stay of Isokrates at Chios, 404—403 B.C.

It can hardly be doubted that it was at this time—in the autumn of 404—that Isokrates left Athens for Chios: In that island he opened a school of Rhetoric, and had some success. He seems to have returned to Athens either just before or just after the Athenian democracy was formally restored in September, 4031.

1 The date of I.'s sojourn at Chios is a vexed question.(1) Sauppe, followed by Rauchenstein (Introd. to Select Speeches, p. 4), thinks that Isokr. was at Chios from about 393 to 388 B.C. His argument is this. Cicero (Brut. § 48) quotes Aristotle as saying that Isokrates first wrote forensic speeches, and afterwards taught rhetoric. But his earliest known forensic speech, Or. XXI, refers to 403 B.C.; the latest (Or. XVII, XIX) belong to 394 or 393. If, then, Aristotle is right, his teaching at Chios cannot have begun before 393.(2) Sanneg (De Schola Isocratea, Halle, 1867) puts the stay at Chios in 398—395 B.C.; arguing that the years 395—388 are claimed for Athens as against Chios by the life-chronology of certain of I.'s pupils (esp. Eunomos—Philomêlos—Androtion: Antid. § 93).The important point, in my view, is this:—Isokrates wrote forensic speeches for about ten years from 403: he began to teach regularly at Athens about 392. He may have taught for a livelihood at Chios in 404—3, but this was an accident. It does not represent a period of his life-work. Cic. Brut. § 48 does not apply to it. Surely some such strong outward pressure as the Tyranny makes I.'s migration more intelligible. I find that A. Kyprianos, τὰ ἀπόρρητα τοῦ Ἰσοκράτους, Athens, 1871 (pp. 22—3) agrees with me.

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 Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: