previous next

Letter IV. To Antipater.

8. To Antipater. [Ep. IV.]—This Letter was written after—probably soon after1—the renewal of the war between Athens and Philip in 340 B.C. Antipater had now been for at least seven years prominent both as a soldier and as a diplomatist. In 347 he seems to have held a command in the Thracian war; in 347 and 346 he was the chief envoy from Macedonia to Athens2. At this time, in 340 or 339, Antipater is living in Macedonia, apparently as regent, or as chief minister of Alexander, during Philip's absence in Thrace.

The Letter commends to Antipater one Diodotos and his son, who wish to enter the service of Philip. Nothing is known from other sources about this Diodotos3. He seems to have been an Athenian who had taken service, probably as a captain of mercenaries, under more than one of the despots of Asia Minor. ‘For speaking freely to these about their own interests’ (§ 7) he had ‘been stripped of his privileges at home’; in other words, he had been deprived of the Athenian citizenship on the charge of supporting an anti-Athenian policy abroad. Alone of the nine Letters, this has the ease of a private friendship: Isokrates had made the acquaintance of Antipater at Athens.

‘Even in time of peace, a letter from Athens to

Macedonia runs risks; much more now, when we are at war. But I was determined to write to you about Diodotos, and, since I am too late to introduce him to you, at least to add my testimony in his favour. Men of various countries have been my pupils; some with a special faculty for speaking; some with powers of thought and action; some of small ability, but good men and pleasant companions. Diodotos has a nature so happily tempered that in all these respects he is perfect. (§§ 1—4.) You will find, too, that he is thoroughly outspoken. Princes of a large mind honour such frankness; it is the feebler who fear it, thinking that it will drive them into acting against their wishes, and not seeing that free criticism is most likely to put them in the way of attaining what they desire. No monarchy—nay, no republic—is likely to last without advisers who dare to offend. Yet such advisers are slighted,—as Diodotos has found to his cost. There are some princes in Asia whom he has served both by counsel and by perilous deeds; through freedom of speech, however, he has lost not only his dignities in his own country but many hopes besides. He is inclined to distrust princes as a voyager once unlucky fears the sea; but he has done well in going to you. He will benefit by your kindness; you, by his loyalty and ability. (§§ 5—9.)

‘His son, too, is advised by me to take service under your government. He is ambitious to do so; but feels like an athlete eager for a crown which he dares not hope to win. He is without experience; and has defects of person which he fears will be against him. In any case, whether he resides in Macedonia or (as a neutral) at Athens, pray watch over his safety and that of his father. Look upon them as a trust committed to you by my old age—my fame (if that is worth aught)—my friendship. Forgive the length of an old man's letter; I had but one aim,—to show goodwill for the best of friends.’ (§§ 10—13.)

1 The words in § 1—νῦν ὅτε πολεμοῦμεν πρὸς ἀλλήλους, as opposed to τῆς εἰρήνης οὔσης—suggest that the declaration of war was recent.

2 Schäfer, Dem. II. p. 34.

3 Sanneg, in his essay De Schola Isocratea (Halle, 1867), notices Diodotos among the pupils of Isokrates; but has nothing to add to the information furnished by this Letter. In the modern Greek edition of Isokrates quoted above (p. 241 note) on Letter VI., the commentator suggests that this Diodotos is possibly identical with the interpreter of Herakleitos mentioned by Diogenes Laertios, IX. 15.

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: