Rhetoric, Isocrates’

Isocrates (436–338 BCE) is one of the most important and problematic figures in the history of rhetoric. Born to a wealthy Athenian family, Isocrates was a contemporary, and in many cases the rival, of many of the best known figures of Classical Greek rhetorical culture, including Gorgias (who may have been one of his teachers), Plato, and Aristotle. Over the course of his long career he established himself as a central contributor to the development of several theoretical domains, including education, politics, communication theory, and rhetoric, which were taken together by Isocrates to constitute what he called paideia, typically translated into English as “culture,” or philosophia. Very much overlooked in the modern era, being overshadowed by Aristotle, Isocrates’ reputation has undergone a radical transformation ...

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