Isocrates Comes to Rome as Ambassador
The ambassadors with Menochares arrived in Rome from
Reception of the ambassadors of Demetrius.
Demetrius, bringing the present of ten thousand
gold pieces, as well as the man who had assassinated Gnaeus Octavius. The Senate was for a long
time doubtful what to do about these matters. Finally they received the ambassadors and accepted the present, but declined
to receive the men who were thus brought prisoners. Yet
Demetrius had sent not only Leptines, the actual assassin of
Octavius, but Isocrates as well. The latter was a grammarian
Previous career of Isocrates.
and public lecturer; but being by nature garrulous, boastful,
and conceited, he gave offence even to the
Greeks, Alcaeus and his friends being accustomed to direct their wit against him and hold
him up to ridicule in their scholastic discussions.1
arrived in Syria, he displayed contempt for the
people of the country; and not content with
lecturing on his own subjects, he took to speaking on politics, and maintained that "Gnaeus Octavius had
been rightly served: and that the other ambassadors ought to
be put to death also, that there might be no one left to report
the matter to the Romans; and so they might be taught to
give up sending haughty injunctions and exercising unlimited
power." By such random talk he got into this trouble.