First period of his School, 392—378 B.C; second period, 376-351 B.C.
From 392 to 378 his pupils were almost exclusively Athenian. His own literary activity is marked by the Busiris
(391 or 390)—in which he undertakes to shew Polykrates, a rhetorician afterwards of some repute, how to treat mythical subject matter: and by the Panegyrikos
, which made his name known throughout Greece.
In 378 the new Confederation revived for
Athens at least a shadow of that naval supremacy which had been given up just a century before. It was probably during the next two years (378—376) that Isokrates was the companion and the secretary of Timotheos the son of Konon—known to him since about 3841
, and at this time successfully energetic in organising the new League both in the Archipelago and in the Ionic Sea2
. The friendship of Isokrates with Evagoras, king of Salamis in Cyprus, the friend of Konon and his son, may have begun at this time.
Between the years 376 and 351 the school of Isokrates reached the height of its prosperity and
Second period of the School, 376—351 B.C.
fame. His own reputation, and the new rank of Athens as the centre of the Naval Confederacy, combined to bring him pupils from all parts of Greece, from Sicily in the West and from Pontus in the East. Some of these pupils stayed three years with him, some even four. Meanwhile he was
writing much. In the letter To Nikokles
(374 B.C.) and the discourse, Nikokles, or the Cyprians
(372?), he discusses the mutual duties of king and subjects. The letter of advice To Demonikos
is of about the same date. The Helenae Encomium
(370) and the Evagoras
(365) are examples of imaginative and of historical panegyric. The Plataikos
(373) and the Archidamos
(366) deal with the contemporary affairs of Boeotia and Lacedaemon; the Areopagitikos
(355) and the oration On the Peace
(355) treat the domestic and the foreign politics of Athens. The speech On the Antidosis
(353) reviews the professional life of the writer—then eighty-three—and defends the ideas to which it had been devoted.
In the year 351 Mausôlos, dynast of Karia, died; and his widow Artemisia proposed in honour of his memory a contest of panegyrical eloquence which brought a throng of brilliant rhetoricians to Halikarnassos. No competitor (it is said) presented himself who had not been a pupil of Isokrates; and it was certainly a pupil of Isokrates—Theopompos the historian—who gained the prize. A tradition that this day of glory for the school was a day of personal defeat for its master may safely be rejected. One who had always been deterred by want of nerve and of voice from speaking in the Athenian ekklesia was not likely, at the age of eighty-five, to ignone these defects, for the purpose of competing in a foreign city with his own pupils. The Isokrates named as a competitor by Suidas was unquestionably Isokrates of Apollonia3