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ISOCRATES, HELEN

The J. A. Freese Translation

Freese Introduction

This treatise and the Busiris stand alone in the writings of Isocrates, being declamations upon mythical subjects,--which had always been popular amongst the earlier Sophists,--such as the encomium on Helen and defence of Palamedes, attributed to Gorgias; the speech of Odysseus against Palamedes, ascribed to Alcidamas, and the speeches of Ajax and Odysseus in the contest for the arms of Achilles, supposed to be written by Antisthenes. Isocrates here plays the part of a critic, first reviewing the productions of others, and then showing how he himself would have done the work.

The date is probably about B.C. 370; in 1 there is an allusion to the three schools of the followers of Socrates--the Cynics, Megarians, and Academics; and Antisthenes (the founder of the Cynics, who died about B.C. 366) is represented as still alive, and from 1 it seems that Gorgias (who died B.C. 380) is already dead.

The treatise is a polemic against the perverse method of the Sophists in their choice and treatment of subjects, with especial reference to the disputatious arguments of Gorgias and others on general subjects and the origin of things, their reprehensible and vicious method of instruction, and the ridiculous themes chosen by them as the subject of laudatory speeches or encomia In the treatise itself lengthy episodes are introduced about Theseus as the first on whom Helen's beauty created a deep impression, the justification of Paris, and the praise of beauty; it is lastly attributed as a merit to Helen that the war undertaken on her account resulted in Hellas being saved from the barbarian yoke.


Speech

1. There are some who take great pride in being able to discuss in a tolerable manner any out of the way or paradoxical subject they may propose to themselves; and men have grown old, some asserting that it is impossible to say what is false, to contradict, or even to give two opposite accounts of the same things, others declaring that courage, wisdom, and justice are identical, and that none of them are natural qualities, but that one kind of knowledge alone is concerned with them all; while others waste their time in discussions that are perfectly useless, and whose only effect is to cause annoyance to their followers. 2. Now, if I saw that these subtleties had been recently introduced into the study of eloquence, and that these men could pride themselves upon the novelty of the invention, I should not wonder at them so much; but as it is, who is so backward in knowledge as not to know that Protagoras1 and the sophists of his time have left to us writings of a similar nature and far more vexatious than these? 3. for how could one go beyond Gorgias,2 who ventured to assert that nothing of all that is exists, or Zeno, who attempted to prove that the same things were both possible and impossible, or Melissus,3 who, although things were infinite in number, endeavoured to find proofs that the whole is one and the same? 4. But, nevertheless, while they made it abundantly clear that it is possible to make up a false account of any subject one may propose, they still waste time on this topic, whereas they ought to have abandoned such claptrap, which pretends to convince in words but has been long proved false in deeds, and to pursue the search after truth, to bring up their disciples to a knowledge of practical politics, 5. and to train them to experience in such matters, bearing in mind that it is far better to have a sound opinion upon useful things than an accurate knowledge of things that are useless, and to have a slight superiority in matters of importance than to be far above others in small things that are of no practical benefit in life.

6. But they have no thought for anything save enriching themselves at the expense of younger men. Now, it is just the philosophy that busies itself with discussions that is able to produce this result; for those who have no thought either for public or private interests take especial pleasure in such discourses as are of no service for any single purpose. 7. In the case of the young men, there is much to be said in excuse of their entertaining such ideas; for in everything they are always disposed to exaggeration and straining after the marvellous; but those who pretend to instruct them deserve rebuke, because, while they accuse those who cheat in private contracts and make an unfair use of their powers of speech, they themselves act in a far more reprehensible manner than this; for while the former merely inflict loss upon strangers, the latter chiefly do harm to their own pupils. 8. They have further caused the practice of false speaking to increase to such an extent, that some, seeing these men benefited thereby, even venture to declare in writing, that the life of mendicants and exiles is more enviable than that of anyone else, and from the faculty which they possess of being able to say something about worthless subjects, they endeavour to prove that they will have plenty to say about such as are noble and useful. 9. But it seems to me to be the most ridiculous thing of all to attempt to convince people by such words that they possess knowledge of political affairs, while in the course of these very professions they might display it; for it is in such matters that those who dispute the possession of wisdom with others and pretend to be wise men ought to excel and be superior to the uninitiated, not in things that nobody pays any attention to, but in things which are the object of general rivalry. 10. But, as it is, their behaviour resembles that of a man who, while claiming to be the strongest of all athletes, descends into an arena in which no one would condescend to meet him. For what sensible man would undertake to praise misfortunes? It is evident that it is only from weakness that these men take refuge in such absurdities.

11. There is only one road to this class of compositions, which is neither difficult to find, nor to learn, nor to imitate; but discourses that are of general applicability, and trustworthy, and of a similar nature, can only be composed and uttered by the aid of a variety of forms and suitable expressions that are hard to learn, and their composition is so much more difficult in proportion as gravity is more laborious than buffoonery and earnestness than frivolity. 12. A strong argument is this: none of those who have desired to praise bumble-bees, salt, and the like, have ever yet been without something to say, while all those who attempt to speak of such things as are admitted to be good and honourable, or of men who are distinguished for virtue, have fallen far short of the truth in what they say. 13. For it does not require the same intellect to speak suitably on these two kinds of subjects, but, while it is easy to say more than is necessary on trifling matters, it is difficult to rise to the importance of such things as deserve it; and while, in speaking of things of repute, it is rare to find anything that someone has not mentioned before, all a man's utterances concerning what is humble and worthless are original.

14. This is the reason why I praise him who wrote of Helen more than all others who have desired to describe a subject eloquently, because he has recalled the memory of a woman who surpassed all others in birth, beauty, and renown. However, even he has unwittingly made a slight error; for, while asserting that he has written an encomium upon her, he has rather composed a defence of her acts. 15. My discourse, however, is neither of the same kind nor concerned with the same subject, or rather, it is just the opposite; for it is fitting to defend those who are accused of injustice, but to praise those who excel in any noble quality.

However, that I may not render myself liable to the reproach of doing what is most easy to do, to criticize others without producing anything of my own, I will endeavour to speak of this same woman, omitting all that has been previously said by others.

16. I will commence my discourse with the origin of her family. While most of the demigods owed their existence to Zeus, she was the only woman of whom he condescended to be called the father. While he took most interest in the son of Alcmene and the children of Leda, he so far showed preference for Helen over Heracles, that, having granted such strength to the latter that he was enabled to overcome all by force, he allotted to Helen the gift of beauty, which is destined to bring even strength into subjection to it. 17. Knowing, further, that distinction and renown arise, not from peace, but from wars and combats, and wishing not only to exalt their bodies to heaven, but to bestow upon them an everlasting remembrance, he ordained a life of toil and danger for the one, while he granted to the other beauty that was universally admired and became the object of universal contention.

18. In the first place, Theseus, (4) the reputed son of Aegeus, but who was really the offspring of Poseidon, beholding her while she was still of tender years, but even then surpassed all other women in beauty, was so subjugated by her charms, that he, the man who was accustomed to command all others, although his country was most glorious, and his kingdom most securely established, did not consider life worth living in the enjoyment of the blessings he possessed without her society; 19. and, when he was unable to obtain her from her lawful guardians, who were waiting until she was of age to be married and also for the response of the Pythian oracle, disregarding the power of Tyndareus, (5) and despising the might of Castor and Polydeuces, in utter contempt of all the dangers that menaced him from Sparta, he carried her off by force to Aphidna (6) in Attica, 20. and felt so grateful to Peirithous, who helped him to abduct her, that, when he aspired to the hand of Kore, the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, and begged him to accompany him down to Hades, Theseus, finding that he could not divert him from his purpose by his advice, although the danger was obvious, nevertheless accompanied him, thinking that he owed him this debt of gratitude, and that he ought not to shrink from the mandates of Peirithous, in return for the part he had taken in his own dangerous enterprise.

21. If he who acted thus had been an ordinary man instead of one of the most distinguished, it would not yet be clear whether my discourse is an encomium of Helen or an accusation of Theseus; but we shall find that, whereas, in the case of all other famous men, one has been lacking in courage, another in wisdom, and another in some similar quality, he alone was deficient in none, but was endowed with perfect virtue.

22. And it seems to me that I ought to speak of him even at greater length; for I think that the surest way of inspiring confidence in those who are desirous of praising Helen, is to show that those who loved and admired her were themselves more worthy of admiration than the rest of mankind. For, in regard to what has happened in our own days, we should naturally judge in accordance with our own opinions, but in regard to what took place so long ago it behoves us to show ourselves in agreement with the wise men of that age.

23. The most glorious thing that I can say concerning Theseus is that, although he lived in the time of Heracles, he established a reputation which rivalled his. Not only were they equipped with the same arms, but they followed the same pursuits, in a manner befitting their relationship; for, being the children of brothers, the one of Zeus, the other of Poseidon, they cherished kindred desires, being the only men of antiquity who set themselves up as defenders of the life of their fellows. 24. It came to pass that the one underwent dangers that were greater and more famous, the other such as were more useful and more closely connected with the Hellenes. Heracles was ordered by Eurystheus (7) to fetch the cows from Erytheia and the apples of the Hesperides, and to bring up Cerberus from below, and to perform other similar labours, from which no benefit was likely to accrue to others, but only danger to himself; 25. while Theseus, being his own master, chose such undertakings as were likely to approve him the benefactor of Hellas or of his own country. Unaided, he vanquished the bull let loose by Poseidon, which ravaged Attica, which all united did not dare to face, and thereby delivered the inhabitants of the city from great fear and anxiety; 26. after this, entering into alliance with the Lapithae, he marched against the Centaurs, creatures half-men half-horses, who, endowed with swiftness, strength, and daring beyond all, sacked some of the cities, prepared to attack others, and menaced others with destruction; and, having defeated them, he at once checked their insolence, and not long afterwards wiped their race off the face of the earth. 27. About the same time the monster born in Crete, the offspring of Pasiphae, daughter of the Sun, was receiving the tribute of twice seven children sent by the city in obedience to the oracle. Theseus, when he saw them led away, accompanied by the whole of the people, to a monstrous and inevitable death, and lamented while yet alive, was so indignant that he thought it better to die than to live as the ruler of a city that was forced to pay such a pitiable tribute to its enemies.

28. Embarking with them for Crete, he overcame the creature, by nature half-man and half-bull, possessed of two-fold strength as befitted its double origin, saved and restored the children to their parents, and freed the city from a mandate so unjust, so monstrous, and so hard to be delivered from.

29. I do not know how to deal with the rest of my discourse; for, as I have directed my attention to the deeds of Theseus and have commenced to speak about them, I do not like to stop half-way, and to say nothing about the lawless conduct of Sciron, Kerkyon, and other brigands like them, against whom he fought and delivered the. Hellenes from many dire calamities, but, on the other hand, I feel that I am travelling beyond the proper limits of my subject, and am afraid that some may think that I am more interested in him than in the original subject of my discourse. 30. 30. In this difficulty, I think it best to omit the greater part of the exploits of Theseus out of consideration for fretful listeners, and to describe the rest as briefly as possible, that I may gratify both them and myself, and not allow myself to be altogether subservient to those whose habit it is to be jealous of and to carp at everything that they hear.

31. His courage he displayed in those deeds in which he exposed himself to danger alone and unaided; his military skill in the engagements he fought together with the whole city; his piety towards the gods in the reception he gave to the suppliants Adrastus and the children of Heracles, the latter of whom he saved by defeating the Peloponnesians, while to the former, in spite of the Thebans, he restored for burial those who had died under the walls of the Cadmea; and his other virtues and his prudence, not only in what has been mentioned before, but above all in his administration of the city. 32. He saw that those who aspire to rule their fellow-citizens by force are themselves the slaves of others, and that those who make life dangerous for the rest live in fear and trembling themselves, and are forced to make war, on the one hand, with the help of the citizens against those who attack their country, 33. and, on the other hand, with the help of mercenaries against their fellow-citizens; he further saw them plundering the temples of the gods, putting to death the best citizens, distrusting their closest friends, and living in no less anxiety than those who are lying in prison under sentence of death; he saw that, although they are objects of envy abroad, they are a prey at home to greater anxiety than ordinary men; 34. for what can be more bitter for a man than to live in the perpetual dread of being assassinated by one of those around him, as much afraid of his protectors as of those who are plotting against him? Theseus then, despising all such men, and considering them, not rulers, but plagues of their country, proved that it was easy to be a monarch and yet to be no less happy than those who enjoy equal rights with the rest of the citizens. 35. In the first place, he united the scattered villages which formed the city, and increased it to such an extent that, after all that time, it is even now the greatest of all the Hellenic cities; next, he established a common fatherland, and, having emancipated the minds of his fellow-citizens, he opened the path of rivalry in virtue to all, being confident that he would be no less superior to them if they practiced it than if they neglected it, and feeling that the honours which are bestowed by those who are high-minded are sweeter than those derived from men who are in a state of servitude. 36. Far from doing anything against the wishes of the citizens, he gave the people control over public affairs, while they asked him to rule alone, considering that in his hands his monarchy was more faithful to the laws and more impartial than their own democracy. For he did not, like other monarchs, impose labours upon others, while reserving the enjoyment of pleasures for himself alone, but he made the dangers his own, and shared the advantages impartially with all. 37. In consequence whereof, he passed his life, not an object of attack, but of affection, not preserving his authority by the aid of mercenaries, but protected by the love of the citizens, in authority an autocrat, in good deeds a popular leader; for he administered the state so honourably and in such strict accordance with the laws that even now traces of his mildness may be found remaining in our national character.

38. As for Helen, the daughter of Zeus, who brought under her control such high virtue and wisdom, who could help praising and honouring her, and considering her far superior to all the women who have ever yet existed? For we shall never be able to produce a more trustworthy witness or a more convincing authority upon the good qualities of Helen than the judgment of Theseus. But, that I may not seem to dwell too long upon the same topic from lack of ideas, or to misuse the reputation of a single man in order to enhance that of Helen, I wish to speak of what remains.

39. After the descent of Theseus to Hades, when she returned again to Lacedaemon and was of age to marry, all the princes and rulers of the time held the same opinion concerning her as Theseus; for, although it was in their power to choose out of their own cities the most distinguished women as their wives, they despised an alliance at home, and went to Sparta as suitors of Helen. 40. And, when her future husband was as yet undecided, and all had an equal chance, it was so evident that she would become the cause of general strife, that they assembled together and pledged themselves to assist one another, in case anyone should attempt to take her from him who might be thought worthy of her hand in marriage, each one imagining that he was thereby ensuring support for himself in the future. 41. While, however, they were all deceived in their particular hope except one man, none of them was wrong in the general opinion entertained concerning her. For, shortly afterwards, a dispute arose amongst the gods about beauty, in which Alexander, son of Priam, was appointed umpire, and, when Hera offered him the kingdom of all Asia, Athena victory in war, 42. and Aphrodite the hand of Helen, being unable to decide between their personal charms, but dazzled by the sight of the goddesses, and compelled to make his choice of the gifts they offered, he chose the possession of Helen as preferable to everything else, not with an eye to mere pleasure--although this is more to be desired by men of sense than many other things; 43. such, however, was not his object, but he was eager to become the son-in-law of Zeus, thinking this a far greater and more honourable distinction than the empire of Asia, and reflecting that, while great authority and power is at times bestowed even upon contemptible individuals, none among posterity would ever be considered worthy of the hand of such a woman, and that further he could bequeath no more splendid legacy to his children than by securing to them the honour of being descended from Zeus on the mother's as well as on the father's side. 44. For he knew that, while other favours of fortune quickly change hands, nobility of birth is an eternal patrimony, so that this choice of his would be to the advantage of his whole family, while all the other gifts would not endure beyond the term of his own life. 45. No sensible man could find anything to say against these considerations; some of those, however, who pay no heed to previous circumstances, but only look at the events of the moment, have before now reviled him, whose folly may easily be understood from the reproaches they have uttered against him. 46. For how can they avoid incurring ridicule, if they consider their own intellect more capable than that which was honoured by the preference of the gods, who certainly did not intrust the decision of a matter which stirred up such strife amongst them to an ordinary individual, but were clearly as anxious to select the best judge as they were careful about the subject of the dispute itself. 47. And we ought to consider what manner of man he was, and to estimate him, not by the wrath of those who failed to obtain the prize, but by the fact that all, after deliberation, had chosen his judgment in preference to that of anyone else. For there is nothing to prevent even those who have done no wrong being maltreated by those who are stronger, but it is impossible for a man, except he be far superior in intelligence, to be so honoured as to be appointed judge of immortals, although only a mortal himself. 48. I am surprised that anyone should think that he decided wrongly in preferring to live with her, for whose sake many of the demigods were ready to die; would he not have shown himself utterly senseless if, knowing that the goddesses were rivals for the palm of beauty, he had himself despised it, and had not considered this the most precious gift, to which he saw that the goddesses themselves attached the greatest value? 49. Who would have despised the hand of Helen, at whose abduction the Hellenes were as indignant as if the whole of their country had been plundered, while the barbarians were as proud as if they had conquered us all? The feelings with which they both regarded it is clear; for, though they formerly had many causes of complaint against one another, they sunk their differences, and, for her sake, stirred up a war of such magnitude, not only in the furious passions it aroused, but also in its duration and extensive preparations, as had never taken place before that time. 50. And when it was in the power of the one party, if they restored Helen, to be rid of their present misfortunes, and of the other, if they took no thought for her, to live in security for the future, neither of them were willing to act in this manner, but the barbarians were content to see their cities sacked and their country ravaged, if only they need not surrender her to the Hellenes, while the latter preferred to remain and grow old in a foreign land without ever looking upon their friends again rather than to abandon her and to withdraw to their own homes. 51. And they acted in this manner, not eager for the victory of Alexander or Menelaus, but the one on behalf of Asia, the others in the cause of Europe, thinking that whichever of the two countries should be her home would be the happier.

52. Such a love of the hardships of that expedition came upon all, not only Hellenes and barbarians, but also upon the gods, that they did not even dissuade their own children from taking part in the struggles around Troy: but Zeus, Eos, Poseidon, and Thetis, although they knew beforehand the fate of Sarpedon, of Memnon, of Cycnus, and of Achilles, joined in encouraging and sending them forth to the war, 53. feeling that it was more honourable for them to die fighting for the daughter of Zeus than to live without taking part in the dangers to be undergone on her behalf. And we ought not to be surprised at their feelings in regard to their children, since the war they waged was far greater and more terrible than that which they had formerly carried on against the Giants; against the latter they carried on the conflict united, but for Helen they fought against one another.

54. With good reason they came to this resolution, and I also have a right to use exaggerated language about her; for she had the greatest share of beauty, which is the most August, most precious, and most divine of all things. And it is easy to estimate its influence; for, while many of the things which have no part or lot in courage, wisdom, or justice, will be seen to be valued more highly than each of these, we shall find that none of those things which have no share of beauty are objects of admiration, but are universally despised, except in so far as they share this attribute, and that virtue owes its reputation chiefly to this, that it is the most beautiful of the aspects of life. 55. And we may learn the superiority of beauty over all other things from the feelings with which we ourselves regard each of them. For, in regard to other things, we merely desire to obtain what we stand in need of, but our minds are affected no further by them; but a love of beautiful things is implanted in us, as much more powerful than our will, as the object of it is better. 56. And, while we are jealous of those who surpass us in intelligence or anything else, if they do not win us over by daily benefits and force us to love them, we are inspired with goodwill towards the beautiful at first sight, and they are the only persons to whom we are never weary of paying homage as to the gods, 57. but we are more willing to serve such than to rule others, being more grateful to those who impose many tasks upon us than to those who set us nothing to do. And, while we reproach those who are subject to any other power, and contemptuously call them flatterers, we regard those who are the slaves of beauty as lovers of the beautiful and of honourable labour. 58. Further, we show such pious respect and consideration for this gift of nature, that we hold those of its possessors who make a profit of it and counsel ill in regard to their youth in greater dishonour than those who violate the persons of others; while we honour in the future those who keep the flower of their own youth inaccessible to the vicious like a sacred shrine equally with those who have conferred some benefit on the city at large.

59. But why need I waste time in recording the opinions of men? Zeus, the lord of all, who displays his might in everything else, considers it right to approach beauty in a spirit of humility. For in the likeness of Amphitryon he visited Alcmene, and as a golden stream was intimate with Danae, and, in the form of a swan, took refuge in the bosom of Nemesis, and, in the same shape, won Leda for his bride, ever pursuing his quest of this gift of nature by stratagem and not by force.

60. And beauty is held in so much greater honour amongst them than amongst us, that they readily make excuses for their wives when overcome by its influence, and one could point to many of the goddesses, who have fallen victims to mortal beauty, none of whom sought to conceal what had happened as if it involved any disgrace but, as if such acts were honourable, they preferred that they should be celebrated rather than remain untold. The strongest proof of what I have stated is that we shall find that more mortals have owed their immortality to their beauty than to any other excellences.

61. To all these Helen was superior in proportion as she surpassed them in personal charm. For she not only won immortality herself, but, having obtained power equal to that of the gods, she first translated her brothers to the gods, when they were already in the grasp of destiny, and, desiring to make the change assured, she bestowed upon them honours so conspicuous that the sight of them is able to save the lives of those in peril on the sea, if they invoke their aid with pious respect. 62. After this she so amply rewarded Menelaus for the toils and dangers which he underwent on her behalf, that, when the whole race of the Pelopidae became extinct, and was involved in irremediable woes, she not only delivered him from these calamities but, having bestowed immortality upon him, she took him for her spouse and companion for all time. 63. And as an actual witness to this I can bring forward the city of the Spartans, which preserves ancient traditions with the greatest fidelity; for even at the present day, at Therapnae in Laconia, they offer up holy sacrifices according to the custom of their ancestors in honour of both of them, as unto gods, and not as unto heroes.

64. She further displayed her power to Stesichorus the poet; for, having used insulting language concerning her at the commencement of an ode, he rose up bereft of eyesight; but when, recognising the cause of his affliction, he composed his recantation, as it is called, she restored to him the faculty of sight. 65. Some of the Homeridae also recount that, coming to Homer by night, she ordered him to compose an epic on those who took the field at Troy, wishing to render their death an object of greater envy than the life of the rest of mankind; and that thus, partly owing to the genius of Homer, but chiefly through her, his charming poem, of universal renown, was composed.

66. Since then she has power both to punish and reward, it is the duty of the wealthy to propitiate and honour her with offerings, sacrifices, and processions, and of philosophers to endeavour to speak of her in terms worthy of the material at hand; for such is the tribute that it befits the educated to pay.

67. What I have omitted far exceeds what I have said. For, not to mention arts, philosophy, and all the other blessings which one might refer to her and to the Trojan war, we should rightly consider that it is owing to her that we are not the slaves of the barbarians. For we shall find that the Hellenes became of one mind for the sake of Helen, and united in an expedition against them, and that on that occasion for the first time Europe erected a trophy in honour of a victory over Asia; 68. in consequence of which our fortunes experienced such a change, that from that time forth those of the barbarians who were unfortunate begged that they might govern Hellenic cities. Danaus, having fled from Egypt, occupied Argos, Cadmus of Sidon became ruler of Thebes, the Carians peopled the islands, and Pelops, the son of Tantalus, became master of the whole of Peloponnesus; and, after that war, our race made such strides that it took from the barbarians important cities and a large extent of territory. 69. If, therefore, anyone is desirous of developing and enlarging upon this subject, he will have an ample opportunity of praising Helen more than I have done in this discourse, and of finding much to say concerning her that is as yet unsaid.

1. Protagoras of Abdera, who came to Athens in the time of Pericles. He was the first of the sophists who united the profession of rhetorician and philosopher. He was also the first who took money for giving instruction in the art of speaking.

2. Gorgias of Leontini in Sicily, the pupil of Tisias, was sent to Athens on an embassy (B.C. 427). He and his followers had no scientific theory of oratory, and confined themselves to dealing with general topics (loci communes), their idea being that a rhetorician ought to be able to converse fluently on any subject, even if he knew nothing about it.

3. Zeno of Elea, a Phocaean colony on the west coast of Italy (not to be confounded with Zeno of Citium in Cyprus, the founder of the Stoic school), and Melissus were the disciples of Parmenides. They belonged to the Eleatic school, who admitted a supreme intelligence which was believed to be one with the world itself.

4. Theseus is regarded as the founder of the political institutions of Athens, and was in later times venerated as the parent of the Athenian democracy, just as Servius Tullius amongst the Romans was regarded by the plebeians as the author of their political rights and privileges. He was the reputed son of Aegeus and Aethra, daughter of Pittheus, King of Troezene; other legends make him a son of Poseidon (Neptune), the great Ionian divinity.

5. The father of Helen, on whom Heracles had bestowed Laconia as his kingdom, having exterminated the family of King Hippocoon; when Menelaus, Agamemnon's brother, had been preferred by Helen to all her other suitors, he resigned his kingdom to his son-in-law.

6. Helen is of course merely a mythological personage, classed, even by Herodotus with Io, Europa, and Medea. Not to mention her having been carried off by Alexander (Paris), which brought about the Trojan War, the same feat is said to have been performed by Idas and Lynceus, two Messenian heroes, answering to the Dioscuri (Castor and Polydeuces, or Pollux) her reputed brothers.

7. The twelve labours of Heracles were imposed upon him by Eurystheus, whose wife and children he had murdered in a fit of rage.






















From Isocrates' Orations Vol. I, translated by J. H. Freese. London: George Bell & Sons, 1894.

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