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The only lost work1 of Isokrates known from definite citations is his Art of Rhetoric. It has, indeed, always been questioned whether he was the author of the treatise once current under his name. Quintilian, in quoting it for an opinion of Isokrates, adds—‘if it is really his2’; and Photios hints a like doubt3. Modern criticism4 is divided. Some infer from extant notices, direct and indirect5, that Isokrates really published a systematic ‘Art.’ The direct notices are, with one exception, of slight interest. They inform us that Isokrates defined Rhetoric as ‘the science of persuasion6,’ insisted, in reference to forensic speaking, on the importance of taking up a strong position in that general statement of a case (κατάστασις7) which precedes the detailed narrative of facts, as well as on the need of comprehensiveness in the narrative (διήγησις) itself8; and observed on the dislike of ‘Atticists’ to coining new words9. The only citation more precise and satisfactory than these is made by Maximus Planudes10. ‘We learn,’ he says, ‘from the Art of Isokrates what kind of diction is called pure; for that writer has been so attentive to purity of style as to give in his own treatise such precepts as these upon the subject:—‘In composition11, vowels must not clash12, for that has a lame effect; nor is it well to begin and end with the same syllable, as εἰποῦσα σαφῆ, ἡλικὰ καλά, ἔνθα Θαλῆς; or to put the same conjunctions close together, making the latter answer immediately to the former13. As to particular words, use those which are figurative, but not harshly so; or which are noblest—least artificial—most familiar. In short, your prose must not be prose,—that is dry; nor metrical,—for that betrays art; but tempered with all manner of rhythms, especially iambic or trochaic. In narrative, set the first incident, the second, and the rest, in regular sequence. Do not pass to a fresh point before you have done with the first, or then come back from the end to the beginning. Let your separate thoughts be severally completed and rounded off.’ These rough notes—for they are no more—doubtless represent the substance of precepts which Isokrates really gave at least orally14 to his pupils, whether their present form is, or is not, that in which they were actually put forth by him.

There is nothing to prove that any of the

numerous15 apophthegms ascribed to Isokrates were taken from writings of his now lost16. Many of these apophthegms are mere repartees in conversation; others are maxims of morality or prudence which may, of course, have been found in books, but which are in no instance quoted from any particular book. The average quality of the sayings may be judged from a few specimens. On being asked how he, who was no public speaker, could teach others to speak, he answered that a whetstone cannot cut, but can fit iron to do so17.—‘A father having said that he never gave his son any companion but a slave, —‘Well then,’ Isokrates answered, ‘you will have two slaves18.’ ‘If you have a fair body and an ill mind, you have a good ship and a bad pilot19.’— ‘The root of learning is bitter, the fruit sweet20.’— On being asked in what the industrious differ from the indolent, he said—‘As the pious from the impious—in good hopes21.’

It would, of course, be idle to inquire what proportion of these sayings is genuine. A master of neat expression, who was at the same time singularly sententious, could not fail to be credited with many such γνῶμαι as those with which the Ad Demonicum abounds, and for which the Greek taste received a new impulse from the Peripatetics22.

1 As to the Γρύλλου ἐπιτάφιος (Diog. L. II. 55), see above, p. 80; as to the supposed speech πρὸς Εὔθυνον (Ar. Rh. II. 19) see below.

2 Quintil. Inst. II. 15 § 4.

3 Photios, cod. 260. γεγραφέναι δὲ αὐτὸν τέχνην ῥητορικὴν λέγουσιν, ἣν καὶ ἡμεῖς ἴσμεν τοῦ ἀνδρὸς ἐπιγραφομένην τῷ ὀνόματι. οἱ δὲ συνασκήσει μᾶλλον τέχνῃ χρήσασθαι κατὰ τοὺς λόγους τὸν ἄνδρα φασί.

4 Spengel, συναγωγὴ τεχνῶν, pp. 154—172: Sauppe, O. A. II. p 224. Sauppe denies all force to the objections of I. G. Pfund, de Isocratis Vita et Scriptis, pp. 21 f, which Bernhardy on Cic. Brut. p. 37 appears to think of weight.

5 The direct references to the lost Τέχνη are collected by Benseler, Isocr. vol. II. p. 276. They are the references noticed here. Besides these, Sauppe has brought together ten other instances in which he believes that he has discovered allusions to the treatise. All, or most, of these are, however, doubtful. See Sauppe, O. A. II. pp. 224 ff.

6 Sextus Empiricus, πρὸς μαθημ, II. § 62, p. 301 F: Ἰσοκράτης φησὶ μηδὲν ἄλλο ἐπιτηδεύειν τοὺς ῥήτορας ἐπιστήμην πειθοῦς. Quintilian, indeed, states that Isokrates said, ‘esse rhetoricen persuadendi opificem, id est πειθοῦς δημιουργόν’: Inst. II. 15. § 4. But, as Sauppe observes, Sextus is probably the more accurate. The definition mentioned by Quintilian is known to have been given by Korax and Tisias (Spengel, συναγ. p. 34) and is ascribed by Sextus himself to Xenokrates.

7 Max. Planudes, scholia on Hermogenes, περὶ ἰδεῶν β́, in Walz Rhet. Graec. V. 551. κατάστασις is here what Dionysios calls πρόθεσις:—that general setting forth of the matter in hand which usually comes (at least in the speeches of Lysias) between the exordium (προοίμιον) and the detailed narrative: (καὶ ἔστι μεθόριον αὐτῷ ἑκατέρας τῶν ἰδεῶν ὡς τὰ πολλὰ πρόθεσις: Lys. c. 17.)

8 Syrianos, scholia on the στάσεις of Hermogenes, in Walz Rh. Gr. IV. 302.

9 οἱ Ἀττικισταὶ παντελῶς ἀποτρέπουσι τοῦ ὀνοματοποιεῖν καὶ μόνοις προστάττουσι κεχρῆσθαι ταῖς εἰρημέναις λέξεσι καὶ τοῖς τεταγμένοις ὀνόμασιν, ὡς φησὶν Ἰσοκρἀτης: Max. Planudes (acc. to the Par. ms.), Walz Rh. Gr. V. 498. It is no rash assumption of Benseler's (Isocr. II. 276) that this remark must have occurred in the τέχνη.

10 Walz Rh. Gr. V. p. 469.

11 δεῖ δὲ ἐν τῇ μὲν λέξει τὰ φωνήεντα μὴ συμπίπτειν, κ τ. λ. The words ἐν τῇ μὲν λέξει are opposed to ὀνόματι δὲ χρῆσθαι, κ.τ.λ., lower down. Λέξις means here the style of composition, as contrasted with ὀνόματα, the diction.

12 Dionysios (de Isocr. c. 2) says that Isokr. deprecates (παραιτεῖται) τῶν φωνηέντων τὰς παραλλήλους θέσεις, ὡς λυούσας τὰς ἁρμονίας τῶν ἠχῶν καὶ τὴν λειότητα τῶν φθόγγων λυμαινομένας. The ‘injury to the smoothness of the sounds’ is what is meant by the lameness—unevenness—spoken of here.

13 καὶ τοὺς συνδέσμους τοὺς αὐτοὺς μὴ σύνεγγυς τιθέναι καὶ τὸν ἑπόμενον τῷ ἡγουμένῳ εὐθὺς ἀνταποδιδόναι. For instance, if two consecutive sentences began with ἐπεὶ γάρ, the second ἐπεί would be ἀνταποδεδομένον, in regard to the first,—‘made to answer to it,’ placed in the same position in the sentence. Such repetitions, the rule says, ought not to be made εὐθύς— i.e. without a certain interval.

14 Cf. Epist. VI. § 8 (λέγειν): Panathen. § 236. Cicero says, ‘We find no Art which is ascertained (constet) to be by Isokrates himself, though we meet with many technical writings by his disciples’ [e.g. Ephoros, Naukrates]: de Invent. II. 7. Aristotle, ap. Cic. Brut. § 48, says that Isokrates, on giving up forensic work, betook himself wholly ad artes componendas. Blass thinks (Att. Ber. II. 98) we may understand this of collecting notes, rules, &c., on the theory of Rhetoric—not of writing a formal treatise.

15 Benseler has collected thirtyseven: Isocr. vol. II. pp. 276 ff.

16 One disputed instance must, however, be noticed. Arist. Rhet. II. 19: καὶ εἰ τοῖς χείροσι καὶ ἥττοσι καὶ ἀφρονεστέροις δυνατόν, καὶ τοῖς ἐναντίοις μᾶλλον: ὥσπερ καὶ Ἰσοκρἁτης ἔφη δεινὸν εἶναι εἰ μὲν Εὔθυνος ἔμαθεν, αὐτὸς δὲ μὴ δυνήσεται εὑρεῖν. Benseler (de hiatu p. 56) thinks that this quotation is from a lost speech of Isokrates πρὸς Εὔθυνον, and that our Or. XXI. πρὸς Εὐθύνουν has been falsely attributed to him. But, as Sauppe (O.A. II. 227) says, it is more natural to suppose that the saying quoted by Aristotle referred to rhetorical skill generally, not to the arguments bearing on any special lawsuit.

17 Plut. Mor. 838 E.

18 [Plut.] Vitt. X. Oratt.

19 Anton. Meliss. p. 65.

20 Hermog. I. 22.

21 Steph. Apophthegmat. p. 697.

22 ‘Neque exstare (magnum numerum apophthegmatum) in tanti nominis isocratei claritate et studii quo Graeci inde a peripateticorum disciplina talia colligerent alacritate mirum est.’ Sauppe, O. A. II. 227.

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