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cropped CAT 10 George Cooke.  Isocrates.  BA 88.png

CAT 10. Engraved by George Cooke. Isocrates. In Historic Gallery of Portraits and Paintings, vol. 6. London: Vernor, Hood, & Sharpe, 1810. Melville Memorial Room, Berkshire Athenaeum.

Isocrates (436-338 B.C.), Greek orator, pupil of Socrates. From entry in HG 6: Isocrates “was born at Athens.” As a rhetorician, “the number of his disciples was so great, that Cicero, speaking after tradition, compared his school to the Trojan Horse, from whence a crowd of warriors issued. His orations, which have descended to us, convey an idea of a writer deficient in warmth and enthusiasm, more occupied about words than things, who was less mindful of polishing his expressions, than in creating ideas. His panegyric on Athens was the labor of ten years. . . . The life of this celebrated orator presents few events. . . . In the midst of political dissentions, his school was respected . . . he had the courage to wear mourning for the death of Socrates . . . . The cause of his death was honorable: the defeat of the Athenians at Cheronæa, had such an effect on his spirits, that he would not survive the disgrace of his country. He died, after he had been four days without taking any aliment, in the ninety-ninth year of his age, about 338 years before Jesus Christ” (n.p.).