previous next

His Education.

In 400 B. C.—when Plato was twenty-nine years old, Isokrates thirty-six, and Lysias fifty-nine (or, according to the modern view of his birth-date, forty-four at most1), Isaeos was probably about twenty. That subtle and eager mind, destined to a narrow field, may well have had its early place in the most liberal converse that Athens could afford2. But the only master to whom Isaeos is given as pupil by a tradition at once definite and trustworthy is Isokrates. Their intercourse may be referred to
Isokrates.
the years 393—390, when Isokrates was just beginning to teach, or when Isaeos was about to enter on his own career as a writer of speeches for the lawcourts. Both these facts—that the teacher's manner was not matured, and that the discipleship must have been comparatively short—may help to explain why Isaeos kept so few traces of Isokratic expression. As we shall see, however, the Isokratic influence on Isaeos may clearly be traced in another province—in his handling of subject-matter3. Isokrates asserts that, of all the numerous writers of speeches for the courts, no one was ever honoured with pupils4. If Isaeos had been the pupil of Lysias, at least one
Lysias.
notable exception would have been established. It is worth observing, however, that the best authority speaks of Isaeos, not as the scholar, but as the student of Lysias; and this is undoubtedly the true account5.

1 Vol. I. p. 144.

2 συνεγένετο δὲ τοϊς ἀρίστοις τῶν φιλοσόφων, Hermippos ap. Dionys. Isae. 1. I should certainly hesitate to infer—as Weissenborn and Meier do—that Isaeos had been a disciple of Sokrates.Curtius says that Isaeos ‘connected himself with Plato’ (V. 172, Ward) and so Weissenborn. The authorities for this (so far as they are known to me) are (1) Phot. cod. 265, p. 1472 R, and (2) [Plut.] vit. Demosth., whence Photios gets it.Now, I strongly suspect that Photios has mis-construed the passage in the Plutarchic Life. It says of Demosthenes:σχολάζων Ἰσοκράτει, ὥς τινες ἔφασαν, ὡς δὲ οἱ πλεῖστοι, Ἰσαίῳ τῷ Χαλκιδεῖ, ὃς ἦν Ἰσοκράτους μαθητής, διάγοντι ἐν Ἀθήναις, ζηλῶν Θουκυδίδην καὶ Πλάτωνα, τινες εἶπον προηγουμένως οὐτὸν σχολάσαι. Grammatically, the clause ζηλῶν, κ.τ.λ., might, of course, be connected with ὃς ἦν, κ.τ.λ.: Photios so took it; and hence the error. Manifestly ζηλῶν, &c., is meant to refer back to Demosthcnes. He is the ‘student of Plato and Thucydides.’

3 The authorities for Isaeos having been the pupil of Isokrates are Hermippos (a strong witness) in his book on the disciples of Isokrates (Harpokr. s. v. Ἰσαι_ος, Dionys. Isae. 1): [Plut.] vit. Demosth.,—in vit. Isaei the text is doubtful; and Suid. s. v. Δημοσθένης.—Schäfer (I. 255) questions the tradition, noticing the dubious ὡς δέ τινές φασι in [Plut.] vit. Isocr.—Benseler (p. 192), applying the hiatus-test, puts the discipleship only a little before 360, when Isaeos was past 50: but, as we shall see below, that test breaks down.

4 Antid. (Or. XV.) § 41: παμπληθεῖς εἰσιν οἱ παρασκευάζοντες τοὺς λόγους τοῖς ἐν τοῖς δικαστηρίοις ἀγωνιζομένοις. τούτων μὲν τοίνυν τοσούτων ὄντων οὐδεὶς πώποτε φανήσεται μαθητῶν ἠξιωμένος.

5 Dionys. Isae. 2, χαρακτῆρα δὲ τὸν Λυσίου...ἐζήλωσε (copied in the Γένος Ἰσαίου): c. 20, ζηλωτήν. In [Plut.] vit. Isae. the ordinary reading gives σχολάσας Λυσίᾳ, but should perhaps be emended to σχολάσας [μὲν Ἰσοκράτει, ζηλώσας δὲ] Λυσίαν, as Schäfer suggests (Dem. I. 256 n.: or σχολάσας [Ἰσοκράτει, ἔοικε μάλιστα] Λυσίᾳ. From the pseudo-Plutarch Photios cod. 263 took his Λυσίου δὲ ἐγένετο μαθητής, οὖ καὶ μαθητὴς ἐχρημάτισε. See Blass, Att. Ber. II. 456.

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: