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. [Epist. v.] — In writing to Philip of Macedon, who was not then at open war with Athens, Isocrates takes the opportunity of enclosing a letter to the young Alexander. Philip was in Thrace or the Chersonese from May, 342 B.C., to the latter part of 339 B.C.; and, at some time after his departure, appointed Alexander his regent in Macedonia. But, when this letter was written, that arrangement had not yet been made. Alexander, a boy of fourteen, is busy with his studies. It was probably in this very year (342 B.C.) that Alexander began to receive the lessons of Aristotle.

πρὸς τὸν πατέρα...γράφων referring, probably, to Epist. II. of the extant series, in which Isocr. remonstrates with Philip for recklessly exposing his life, and urges him to intervene in the affairs of Athens with the same prudence which he had just shown (342 B.C.) in constituting the Thessalian tetrarchy: see Attic Orators, II. 250.

τὸν αὐτὸν...τόπον The place is uncertain. Plut. speaks of Alexander as ἀπολειφθεὶς κύριος ἐν Μακεδονίᾳ τῶν πραγμάτων καὶ τῆς σφραγῖδος, when his father went against Byzantium: Alex. c. 9. Cp. Schäfer, Dem. II. 416.

διὰ τὸ γῆρας aetat. 92.

φιλόσοφος ‘fond of study’: cp. Adv. Sophist. § 1, note, p. 293.

τοὺς ἠμεληκότας αὑτῶν ‘who have neglected self-culture’: cp. Antid. § 290, note, p. 305.

συνδιατρίβωνσυμβάλλων ‘men by whose society you will not be pained, and whom you can also take into your confidence on affairs without hurt or injury’. — οὐκ ἂν λυπηθ., i.e. these men are not such buffoons, βωμολόχοι, as (acc. to Isocr.) it was then the fashion to call wits, εὐφυεῖς, but well-bred men: see Areopagiticus, § 49, note, p. 348. — συμβάλλων, usu. συμβαλλόμενος (λόγους), laying counsels together, conferring: Plut. Apophth. Lac. 222 D, ὡς ἔγνω οὐχ οἷόν τ᾽ εἶναι συμβαλεῖν αὐτῷ, to confer with him. The midd. is more suitable when those who consult are equals; the act. here suggests the prince bringing business before a council over which he presides.

τὴν περὶ τὰς ἔριδας See on Adv. Sophist. § 1, and introd. to it, p. 292.

πλεονεκτικήν ‘advantageous’: on the good sense of πλεονεξία see Antid. § 281, p. 303.

τοῖς τοῦ πλήθους προεστῶσιν ‘the leaders of a democracy’: cp. Panegyr. § 172, p. 130, οἱ προεστῶτες ἡμῶν.

μεῖζον...φρονοῦσιν Cp. Areopag. § 43, τοὺς ἐλευθέρως τεθραμμένους καὶ μεγαλοφρονεῖν εἰθισμένους, note, p. 345.

τὴν παιδείαν τὴν περὶ τοὺς λόγους ‘the discipline of those discourses which we bring to bear on the acts incident to daily life, and which aid us in the discussion of public affairs’. On the λόγων παιδεία of Isocr., see Adv. Sophist., introd., p. 292, and Antid., introd., p. 299.

δοξάζεις...ἐπιστήσει...κρίνειν Isocr. taught that it was impossible to know (ἐπιστήμην λαβεῖν) ‘what is to be done or said’ (Antid. § 271, n., p. 301), in the sense that the precise circumstances of a future situation cannot be foreseen: but that the study of political questions (ὑποθέσεις...περὶ τῶν κοινῶν πραγμάτων, ib. § 276, p. 119) will form intelligent opinion, δόξα. He held, further, that he who cultivates the art of persuasion will cultivate ἀρετή, moral excellence, as a means to that end, ib. § 278. And so here he claims for his παιδεία that, through it, Alexander (1) is already able to form intelligent conjecture, δόξα, about the future: (2) that he will know, when the time comes, the principles of government — ἐπιστήσει hinting that he would be at no disadvantage as compared to the pupils of those who profess to impart absolute ἐπιστήμη, Adv. Soph. § 8, p. 112: (3) that he will be able to distinguish between justice and injustice, merit and demerit — i.e. will be a judge of ἀρετή. Cp. Nicocles § 15, αἱ δὲ μοναρχίαι πλεῖστον μὲν νέμουσι τῷ βελτίστῳ, κ.τ.λ.

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