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THIS is the third of the discourses addressed to Nicocles, and, according to Isocrates himself, was the first example of a panegyric on a contemporary. It was regarded by some as a logos epitaphios, or funeral oration, but in style it certainly more resembles an encômion, or panegyric, and contains no lament or words of consolation, which is said to show that Nicocles had been dead for some time. From §78 it is clear that it was written later than the "to Nicocles." Evagoras was assassinated in B.C. 374 by a eunuch whose master had fled from Salamis on being detected in a plot against the king's life. There are no certain indications of the date; authorities are undecided between B.C, 370-365, perhaps even later, although of course it could not be later than B.C. 353, in which year Nicocles is no longer alive.
The population of Cyprus was mixed, partly Phoenician and partly Greek, the former element predominating, while the latter was depressed owing to contact with the East. Evagoras appears to have been a man of distinct ability, and the champion of Hellenism against barbarism, as shown by his resistance against Persia.
The glorification of his deeds, says Isocrates, would rejoice the heart of Evagoras more than any funeral honours; he blames the grudging spirit and ingratitude of those who do not pay due honours to their benefactors and contemporaries, and excuses himself by saying that he lacks models for this kind of discourse, in which poets have had it all their own way. He then relates the glorious descent of Evagoras from Aeacus, the history of the royal house of Cyprus, the remarkable promise displayed by Evagoras in his youth, his fulfilment of it and attainment to power, his services as ruler, especially the Hellenizing of the island, his hospitality to fugitive Hellenes such as Conon, his brave resistance against the united forces of Persia, in which he proved himself greater even than the conquerors of Troy, and worthy to rule all Asia. In conclusion, he excuses himself for his feeble effort on the score of his advanced age, exhorts Nicocles to imitate his father, and praise him for his industrious devotion to study, in which he sets an excellent example to all rulers.
1. When I saw, O Nicocles, that you were honouring the tomb of your father, not only with numerous and magnificent offerings, according to custom, but also with dances, musical exhibitions, and athletic contests, as well as with horse-races and trireme-races, on a scale that left no possibility of their being surpassed, 2. I thought that Evagoras, if the dead have any feeling of what happens on earth, while accepting this offering favourably, and beholding with joy your filial regard for him and your magnificence, would feel far greater gratitude to anyone who could show himself capable of worthily describing his mode of life and the dangers he had undergone than to anyone else; 3. for we shall find that ambitious and high-souled men not only prefer praise to such honours, but choose a glorious death in preference to life, and are more jealous of their reputation than of their existence, shrinking from nothing in order to leave behind a remembrance of themselves that shall never die. 4. Now, expensive displays produce none of these results, but are merely an indication of wealth; those who are engaged in liberal pursuits and other branches of rivalry, by displaying, some their strength, and others their skill, increase their reputation; but a discourse that could worthily describe the acts of Evagoras would cause his noble qualities to be ever remembered amongst all mankind.
5. Other writers ought accordingly to have praised those who showed themselves distinguished in their own days, in order that both those who are able to embellish the deeds of others by their eloquence, speaking in the presence of those who were acquainted with the facts, might have adhered to the truth concerning them, and that the younger generation might be more eagerly disposed to virtue, feeling convinced that they will be more highly praised than those to whom they show themselves superior. 6. At the present time, who could help being disheartened at seeing those who lived in the times of the Trojan wars, and even earlier, celebrated in songs and tragedies, when he knows beforehand that he himself, even if he surpass their noble deeds, will never be deemed worthy of such eulogies? The cause of this is jealousy, the only good of which is that it is the greatest curse to those who are actuated by it. For some men are naturally so peevish, that they would rather hear men praised, as to whom they do not feel sure that they ever existed, than those at whose hands they themselves have received benefits. 7. Men of sense ought not to be the slaves of the folly of such men, but, while despising them, they ought at the same time to accustom others to listen to matters which ought to be spoken of, especially since we know that the arts and everything else are advanced, not by those who abide by established customs, but by those who correct and, from time to time, venture to alter anything that is unsatisfactory.
8. I know that the task I am proposing to myself is a difficult one--to eulogize the good qualities of a man in prose. A most convincing proof of this is that, while those who are engaged in the study of philosophy* are ever ready to speak about many other subjects of various kinds, none of them has ever yet attempted to compose a treatise on a subject like this. 9. And I can make much allowance for them; for to poets many embellishments of language are permitted; they are allowed to represent the gods as associating and conversing with men and aiding whomsoever they will in battle, to discuss them, not only in ordinary terms, but also to employ, sometimes strange expressions, sometimes newly formed words, and sometimes metaphors, and are able to vary their composition with all kinds of embellishment, omitting none; 10. prose writers, on the other hand, have no license of the kind, but are obliged to employ only ordinary words with precision, and thoughts that deal with plain facts. Besides, the former always make use of metre and rhythm, while the latter have no share in these advantages, which possess such a charm, that, even if the style and thoughts are feeble, they attract the hearers by harmony and cadence. 11. One may recognise their influence from what I am going to say; for if one retains the words and ideas of famous poems, and does away with the metre, they will appear to fall far short of the opinion we at present hold concerning them. But, nevertheless, although poetry possesses such great advantages, we must not shrink from the task, but try whether plain prose will be as competent to pronounce the enlogy of good men as those who deliver encomiums in songs and verse.
12. In the first place, in regard to the birth and descent of Evagoras, although many are acquainted with them already, it appears to me fitting that I also should give some account of them for the sake of those who are not, in order that all may know that, while the greatest and noblest examples had been bequeathed to him by his ancestors, he showed himself no whit inferior to them. 13. It is admitted that the descendants of Zeus are the noblest of the demigods, and, amongst them, all would assign preeminence to the Aeacidae; for, while in all other races we shall find some eminent and others inferior, all the Aeacidae were the most famous amongst their contemporaries. 14. Aeacus, the descendant of Zeus, and ancestor of the family of the Teucridae, was a man of such distinction that, when the Hellenes were visited with drought and numbers perished, and the extent of the calamity had passed all bounds, the chief magistrates of the cities came and implored his assistance, confident that, by the aid of his kinship with the gods and his well-known piety, they would speedily find relief from their present calamities by the favour of Heaven. 15. After they had been delivered from their distress and had obtained what they wanted, they built a temple in Aegina in the name of all the Hellenes, on the spot where Aeacus had offered up his prayer to Heaven. From that time, as long as he was amongst men, he continued to enjoy the highest reputation; and, when he departed this life, he is said to have taken his seat by the side of Pluto and Persephone, in the enjoyment of the greatest honours.1
16. His sons were Telamon and Peleus. The former, having accompanied Hercules in his expedition against Laomedon, obtained the meed of valour; Peleus, having distinguished himself in the battle against the Centaurs and gained renown in many other dangerous undertakings, wedded Thetis, the daughter of Nereus, and, a mortal, became the husband of an immortal bride, and he is the only man of all who have ever lived, at whose marriage the bridal hymn is said to have been sung by the gods. 17. Both had sons: Telamon, Ajax and Teucer; and Peleus, Achilles; all three of whom gave the greatest and clearest proof of their courage; for they took the lead, not only in their own cities, and in the places where they dwelt, but, when the Hellenes made an expedition against the barbarians, and many on either side gathered round the standard, no man of distinction absenting himself, Achilles surpassed all others in this dangerous enterprise. 18. Next after him Ajax was distinguished for valour, and Teucer, showing himself worthy of his kinship with them, and not a whit inferior to any of the rest, having assisted in the capture of Troy, sailed to Cyprus and founded Salamis, calling it after the name of his country, and was the founder of the present dynasty.
19. Such was the original greatness that Evagoras owed to his ancestors. After the city had been founded in this manner, in early times the descendants of Teucer held the government, but afterwards a Phoenician exile2 landed, and, having been admitted into the confidence of the reigning prince and acquired great infiuence, showed no gratitude, 20. but behaved shamefully towards the man who had afforded him shelter, and, being terribly ambitious, drove out his benefactor and seized the kingdom. Afterwards, distrustful of the consequences of his acts, and desirous of establishing his position on a secure footing, he filled the city with barbarians and brought the whole island into subjection to the Great King. 21. When masters were in this state, and the usurper's descendants held the government, Evagoras was born. I prefer to omit the utterances of men, the responses of oracles, and the visions seen in dreams, according to which his birth would appear to have been superhuman, not because I disbelieve what is said, but in order to make it clear to all that, far from inventing any of his acts, I say nothing even about these things that are really true, with which few are acquainted, and which are not generally known to the citizens. I will commence with such facts as are beyond dispute.
22. When a boy, he was distinguished for beauty, strength, and modesty, the most becoming qualities at such an age. In proof of which witnesses could be produced: of his modesty, those of the citizens who were brought up with him; of his beauty, all who saw him; of his strength, the contests in which he surpassed his compeers. 23. When he grew to man's estate, all these qualities were proportionately enhanced, and in addition to them he acquired courage, wisdom, and uprightness, and these in no small measure, as is the case with some others, but each of them in the highest degree. 24. For he was so distinguished for his bodily and mental excellences, that, whenever any of the reigning princes of the time saw him, they were amazed and became alarmed for their rule, thinking it impossible that a man of such talents would continue to live in the position of a private individual, and whenever they considered his character, they felt such confidence in him that they were convinced that he would assist them even if anyone ventured to attack them. 25. In spite of such changes of opinion concerning him, they were in neither case mistaken; for he neither remained a private individual, nor, on the other hand, did them injury, but the Deity watched over him so carefully in order that he might gain the kingdom honourably, that everything which could not be done without involving impiety was carried out by another's hands, 26. while all the means by which it was possible to acquire the kingdom without impiety or injustice he reserved for Evagoras. For one of the nobles3 plotted against and slew the tyrant, and afterwards attempted to seize Evagoras, feeling convinced that he would not be able to secure his authority unless he got him also out of the way. 27. Evagoras, however, escaped this peril and, having got safe to Soli in Cilicia, did not show the same feelings as those who are overtaken by like misfortunes. Others, even those who have been driven from sovereign power,4 have their spirits broken by the weight of the misfortunes; but Evagoras rose to such greatness of soul that, although he had all along lived as a private individual, at the moment when he was compelled to flee, he felt that he was destined to rule. 28. Despising vagabond exiles, unwilling to attempt to secure his return by means of strangers, and to be under the necessity of courting those inferior to himself, he seized this opportunity, as befits all who desire to act in a spirit of piety and to act in self-defence rather than to be the first to inflict an injury, and made up his mind either to succeed in acquiring the kingdom or to die in the attempt if he failed. Accordingly, having got together about fifty men (on the highest estimate), he made preparations to return to his country in company with them. 29. From this it would be easy to recognise his natural force of character and the reputation he enjoyed amongst others; for, when he was on the point of setting sail with so small a force on so vast an undertaking, and when all kinds of perils stared him in the face, he did not lose heart himself, nor did any of those whom he had invited to assist him think fit to shrink from dangers, but, as if they were following a god, all stood by their promises, while he showed himself as confident as if he had a stronger force at his command than his adversaries, or knew the result beforehand. 30. This is evident from what he did; for, after he had landed on the island, he did not think it necessary to occupy any strong position, and, after providing for the safety of his person, to wait and see whether any of the citizens would come to his assistance; but, without delay, just as he was, on that eventful night he broke open a gate in the wall, and, leading his companions through the gap, attacked the royal residence. 31. There is no need to waste time in telling of the confusion that ensues at such moments, the terror of the assaulted, and his exhortations to his comrades; but, when the supporters of the tyrant resisted him, while the rest of the citizens looked on and kept quiet, fearing, on the one hand, the authority of their ruler, and, on the other, the valour of Evagoras, 32. he did not abandon the conflict, engaging either in single combat against numbers, or with few supporters against the whole of the enemy's forces, until he had captured the palace, punished his enemies, succoured his friends, and finally recovered for his family its ancestral honours, and made himself ruler of the city.5
33. I think that, even if I were to mention nothing else, but were to break off my discourse at this point, it would be easy to appreciate the valour of Evagoras and the greatness of his achievements; however, I hope that I shall be able to present both even more clearly in what I am going to say. 34. For while, in all ages, so many have acquired sovereign power, no one will be shown to have gained this high position more honourably than Evagoras. If we were to compare the deeds of Evagoras with those of each of his predecessors individually, such details would perhaps be unsuitable to the occasion, while time would be insufficient for their recital; but if, selecting the most famous of these men, we examine them in the light of his actions, we shall be able to investigate the matter equally well, and at the same time to discuss it more briefly.
35. Who would not prefer the perils of Evagoras to the lot of those who inherited kingdoms from their fathers? For no one is so indifferent to fame that he would choose to receive such power from his ancestors rather than to acquire it, as he did, and to bequeath it to his children. 36. Further, amongst the returns of princes to their thrones that took place in old times, those are most famous which we hear of from the poets; for they not only inform us of the most renowned of all that have taken place, but add new ones out of their own imaginations. None of them, however, has invented the story of a prince who, after having undergone such fearful and terrible dangers, has returned to his own country; but most of them are represented as having regained possession of their kingdoms by chance, others as having overcome their enemies by perfidy and intrigue. 37. Amongst those who lived afterwards (and perhaps more than all) Cyrus, who deprived the Medes of their rule, and acquired it for the Persians, is the object of most general admiration. But, whereas Cyrus conquered the army of the Medes with that of the Persians, an achievement which many (whether Hellenes or barbarians) could easily accomplish, Evagoras undoubtedly carried out the greater part of what has been mentioned by his own unaided energy and valour. 38. In the next place, it is not yet certain, from the expedition of Cyrus, that he would have faced the perils of Evagoras, while it is obvious, from the achievements of the latter, that he would readily have attempted the same undertakings as Cyrus. Further, while Evagoras acted in everything in accordance with rectitude and justice, several of the acts of Cyrus were not in accordance with religion; for the former merely destroyed his enemies, the latter6 slew his mother's father. Wherefore, if any were content to judge, not the greatness of events, but the good qualities of each, they would rightly praise Evagoras more than Cyrus. 39. But--if I am to speak briefly and without reserve, without fear of jealousy, and with the utmost frankness--no one, whether mortal, demigod, or immortal, will be found to have acquired his kingdom more honourably, more gloriously, or more piously than he did. One would feel still more confident of this if, disbelieving what I have said, he were to attempt to investigate how each obtained supreme power. For it will be manifest that I am not in any way desirous of exaggerating, but that I have spoken with such assurance concerning him because the facts which I state are true. 40. Even if he had gained distinction only for unimportant enterprises, it were fitting that he should be considered worthy of praise in proportion; but, as it is, all would allow that supreme power is the greatest, the most august, and most coveted of all blessings, human and divine. Who then, whether poet, orator, or inventor of words,7 could extol in a manner worthy of his achievements one who has gained the most glorious prize that exists by most glorious deeds?
41. However, while superior in these respects, he will not be found to have been inferior in others, but, in the first place, although naturally gifted with most admirable judgment, and able to carry out his undertakings most successfully, he did not think it right to act carelessly or on the spur of the moment in the conduct of affairs, but occupied most of his time in acquiring information, in reflection, and deliberation, thinking that, if he thoroughly developed his intellect, his rule would be in like manner glorious, and looking with surprise upon those who, while exercising care in everything else for the sake of the mind, take no thought for the intelligence itself.
42. In the next place, his opinion of events was consisistent; for, since he saw that those who look best after realities suffer the least annoyance, and that true recreation consists, not in idleness, but in success that is due to continuous toil, he left nothing unexamined, but had such thorough acquaintance with the condition of affairs, and the character of each of the citizens, that neither did those who plotted against him take him unawares, nor were the respectable citizens unknown to him, but all were treated as they deserved; for he neither punished nor rewarded them in accordance with what he heard from others, but formed his judgment of them from his own personal knowledge. 43. But, while he busied himself in the care of such matters, he never made a single mistake in regard to any of the events of everyday life, but carried on the administration of the city in such a spirit of piety and humanity, that those who visited the island envied the power of Evagoras less than those who were subject to his rule; for he consistently avoided treating anyone with injustice, but honoured the virtuous, and, while ruling all vigorously, punished the wrongdoers in strict accordance with justice; 44. having no need of counsellors, but, nevertheless, consulting his friends; often making concessions to his intimates, but in everything showing himself superior to his enemies; preserving his dignity, not by knitted brows, but by his manner of life; not behaving irregularly or capriciously in anything, but preserving consistency in word as well as in deed; 45. priding himself, not on the successes that were due to chance, but on those due to his own efforts; bringing his friends under his influence by kindness, and subduing the rest by his greatness of soul; terrible, not by the number of his punishments, but by the superiority of his intellect over that of the rest; controlling his pleasures, but not led by them; gaining much leisure by little labour, but never neglecting important business for the sake of short-lived ease; 46. and, in general, omitting none of the fitting attributes of kings, he selected the best from each form of political activity: a popular champion by reason of his care for the interests of the people, an able administrator in his management of the state generally, a thorough general in his resourcefulness in the face of danger, and a thorough monarch from his pre-eminence in all these qualities. That such were his attributes, and even more than these, it is easy to learn from his acts themselves.
47. For, having found the city, when he took possession of it, reduced to a state of barbarism, and, owing to the rule of the Phoenicians, neither admitting the Hellenes to intercourse, nor acquainted with the arts, nor possessed of a mart or harbour, he corrected all these defects, acquired much additional territory, threw up new walls around it, had triremes built, and in addition so adorned it with public buildings that it was inferior to none of the cities of Hellas, and introduced such power that many of those who formerly despised it were afraid. 48. And yet it is impossible for cities to make such progress, unless they are managed by a man endowed with the natural gifts of Evagoras, such as I have endeavoured to describe a little before. Wherefore I am not afraid of being thought to exaggerate his qualities, but of falling far short of what he did. 49. For who could adequately describe the talents of a man who not only raised his city to a higher position, but caused the whole surrounding district to advance in the direction of mildness and moderation? Before Evagoras took the government in hand, they were so unsociable and cruel that they considered those the best rulers who behaved with the greatest severity towards the Hellenes; 50. but now, their character has so changed that there is rivalry as to which of them shall be thought the greatest admirers of the Hellenes, and most of them take wives from among us and beget children, and take more pleasure in the belongings and institutions of the Hellenes than in their own, and more of those who are engaged in liberal pursuits and other branches of education generally, sojourn in these places than amongst those in whose midst they were formerly accustomed to reside. Of this revolution there is no one who would not recognise that Evagoras was the cause.
51. The most convincing proof of his general chararacter and uprightness is this. Many honourable citizens of the Hellenes left their country and went to dwell in Cyprus,8 feeling that the rule of Evagoras was milder and more equitable than their governments at home. 52. It would be tedious to mention all the others by name, but who does not know that Conon, who was the first man of all the Hellenes by reason of his numerous good qualities, when he was in distress came to Evagoras, selecting him out of all, because he thought that, by taking refuge with him, he would find the greatest personal security, and at the same time the most speedy assistance for the city? And, although Conon had in many other previous instances been successful, he never at any time appeared to have taken a better resolution than in regard to him; 53. for his arrival in Cyprus gave him the opportunity of conferring, and in turn receiving many benefits. For, in the first place, no sooner had they come into contact than they esteemed each other more highly than those who were formerly their most intimate friends. In the next place, they all along continued of one mind in regard to everything else, and held the same opinion concerning our city. 54. For, when they saw it subject to the Lacedaemonians and suffering a severe reverse of fortune, they were grieved and indignant, both of them with good reason; for it was Conon's natural country, while Evagoras, on account of his many and great services, had been regularly enrolled by the Athenians amongst the citizens.9
While they were considering how they should free it from its misfortunes, the Lacedaemonians soon afforded them the opportunity; for, when masters of the Hellenes by land and sea, they became so insatiate that they attempted to ravage Asia. 55. Conon and Evagoras, seizing this opportunity, while the King's generals were at a loss how to profit by the state of affairs, advised them to make war against the Lacedaemonians not by land but by sea, thinking that, if they got together a land army and gained a victory with it, the mainland alone would reap the benefit of it, but that, if they got the better on sea, the whole of Hellas would share in the results of the victory. 56. And this was just what happened; for, after the generals had been won over to this view and a navy had been got together, the Lacedaemonians were defeated in a naval engagement10 and lost their supremacy, while the Hellenes were freed, and our city recovered some of its ancient reputation and again became leader of the allies. This certainly took place under the command of Conon, but it was Evagoras who rendered it possible and provided the greater part of the forces. 57. In return for these services, we conferred the greatest honours upon them, and set up statues of them in the same11 place as the statue of Zeus the Preserver, close to it and to one another, as a memorial both of the greatness of their services and of their mutual friendship.
The King of Persia12 himself did not hold the same opinion concerning them; but, the greater and more glorious their deeds, the more he feared them. Concerning Conon I will speak elsewhere; but the king did not even attempt to conceal that such were his feelings towards Evagoras. 58. For it is well known that he displayed more anxiety about the war in Cyprus13 than about any other, and looked upon Evagoras as a more powerful and more formidable antagonist than Cyrus, who had disputed the kingdom with him. The most convincing proof is this: when he heard of the preparations of the latter he treated them with such contempt, that, owing to his carelessness, he narrowly escaped being surprised by him in his own palace; but for a long time he was so excessively afraid of Evagoras, that, even while receiving kindnesses at his hands, he prepared to make war upon him, not indeed acting therein with strict justice, although his resolve was not altogether unreasonable. 59. For he well knew that many, both Hellenes and barbarians, starting from humble and unimportant positions, had overthrown mighty powers, and he was aware of the high soul of Evagoras, and felt that the progress of his reputation and position did not take place by slow degrees,14 but that he was endowed with incomparable talent, and that Fortune assisted him in his undertakings; 60. so that, not from anger at the past, but from fear of the future, not alarmed for Cyprus alone, but for much greater matters, he made war against him, and entered into it with such ardour that he spent on this expedition more than 15,000 talents. 61. But Evagoras, although inferior in all the means of war,15 opposing his natural ability to such immense preparations, showed himself far more worthy of admiration in this than on all other occasions that I have previously mentioned. For when the Persians allowed him to be at peace, all that he possessed was his own city; 62. but from the time that he was forced to make war, he showed such valour, and had such a valuable assistant in his son Pnytagoras,16 that he almost got possession of the whole of Cyprus, ravaged Phoenicia, took Tyre by storm, induced Cilicia to revolt from the king, and slew such a number of his enemies that many of the Persians, when they lament their misfortunes, speak of the valour of Evagoras; 63. and finally so sickened them of war that, although the kings of Persia always made it a practice to refuse to treat with their revolted subjects until they had become masters of their persons, they gladly made peace, breaking through this custom, but in no way disturbing the rule of Evagoras. 64. Within three17 years the Great King deprived the Lacedaemonians, who at the time were at the height of their power and reputation, of their authority, but, although he carried on war against Evagoras for ten years, he left him master of all that had been in his possession before he entered upon the war. The most remarkable thing of all was, that the Great King, with his overwhelming forces, was unable to subdue the city which Evagoras captured with fifty men during the reign of another.
65. Indeed, what clearer proof could one give of the courage, genius, or excellent qualities generally of Evagoras than such deeds and dangerous enterprises? for he will be shown to have surpassed, not only the exploits of all other wars, but even those of the wars of the heroes, which are celebrated by all. For they only captured Troy aided by the whole of Hellas, while Evagoras, with only one city, made war against the whole of Asia; so that, if the number of those who desired to sing his praises had equalled the number of the poets who sang the praises of the heroes, he would have gained a far greater reputation than they. 66. For if, omitting fables, we look at the truth, whom of the men of that generation shall we find has accomplished such glorious deeds, or has been the cause of such great revolutions in the condition of affairs? for he made himself a ruler from a private individual, and restored his family that had been entirely driven from political power to the honourable position that was their due: changed the citizens from barbarians to Hellenes, 67. from cowards to warriors, from men of no reputation to men of renown, and, having found the country shut up from all intercourse with its neighbours, and in a state of utter savagery, made it more civilized and gentle, and, besides this, when he came to hostilities with the King, he so valiantly defended himself against him that the war about Cyprus has never been forgotten, and, when he was his ally, rendered him services so much greater than his other allies, 68. that he admittedly contributed the greatest part of the forces for the sea-fight at Cnidus, the result of which was that the King became master of the whole of Asia, and the Lacedaemonians, instead of ravaging the mainland, were compelled to fight for the safety of their own territory, while the Hellenes gained independence in place of slavery, and the Athenians made such progress, that those18 who formerly lorded it over them came to offer to restore to them the supreme control. 69. So that, if anyone were to ask me what I consider the greatest achievement of Evagoras,-- his unremitting attention and preparations against the Lacedaemonians which produced the results I have previously mentioned, the last war, the recovery of his kingdom, or his general management of affairs, I should be greatly perplexed; for, to whichever of them from time to time I direct my thoughts, that always appears to me to be the greatest and most worthy of admiration.
70. Wherefore, if any of those of old have become immortal by reason of their virtue, I think that Evagoras also has shown himself worthy of this privilege, in proof whereof I adduce the fact that he spent his life on earth more happily and more favoured by heaven than they. For we shall find that, while the greater number and the most famous of the demigods were overtaken by the greatest calamities, Evagoras continued from the beginning, not only the object of the greatest admiration, but also most blessed with happiness. 71. For in what respect was he lacking in prosperity, seeing that he had such ancestors as no one else had except he belonged to the same family, and was so superior to others in bodily and mental qualities that he was worthy to rule over, not only Salamis, but the whole of Asia, and, after having acquired his kingdom most nobly, he continued in the enjoyment of it all his life, and, though a mortal, left behind him an immortal memory, and lived so long that, while he was not without a share of old age, he nevertheless escaped the infirmities incidental to that period of life. 72. In addition to this, that which is considered the rarest blessing, and one most difficult to obtain, was not refused to him, but this also fell to his lot: the privilege of being blessed with an offspring at once numerous and worthy of their father. The most remarkable thing of all was, that none of his descendants were addressed merely by private titles, but one was called king, others princes, and others princesses. Wherefore, if any of the poets had used exaggerated language concerning anyone of those who preceded him, asserting that he was a god amongst men, or a mortal divinity, all these titles, applied to Evagoras, would be in complete harmony with his noble qualities.
73. I have doubtless omitted much that might be said of Evagoras; for I am past my prime, which would have assisted me to complete this eulogy with greater care and pains; however, even at my age, to the best of my ability, his praises have not been left unsung. My opinion, O Nicocles, is, that while bodily likenesses are excellent memorials, those of the acts and thoughts are deserving of far greater esteem, which one will only find in speeches composed according to the rules of art. 74. I prefer them to the former, because I know, in the first place, that honourable men do not pride themselves so much on physical beauty as they display an honourable ambition in regard to their actions and judgment; in the second place, that material representations are obliged to remain in the hands of those amongst whom they are set up, while words and speeches can be spread abroad in Hellas, and, passing from hand to hand, meet with approval in the conversations of learned men, whose favour it is better to enjoy than that of any others; 75. and further, that no one would model his bodily nature on statues and pictures, while it is easy for those who do not choose to be idle, but wish to be good men, to imitate the manners and ideas of others that are contained in spoken discourse. 76. For these reasons above all others, I have attempted to compose this speech, feeling convinced that it would be the best encouragement to you and your children and all the descendants of Evagoras, if anyone were to gather together his virtues, and, setting them off with eloquence, were to offer them to you for contemplation and as the subject of your thoughts. 77. For we exhort others to the study of philosophy by praising their fellows, in order that, emulating those who are well spoken of, they may be eager for the same virtues as they possess; but I call upon you and yours, appealing not to the example of foreigners, but of your own family, and exhort and advise you to devote your attention to proving yourself inferior to none of the Hellenes either in word or deed. 78. And do not think that I am accusing you of indifference, because I am frequently exhorting you on the same subject. For it is not unknown either to myself or others, that you are the first and only one of those living in the enjoyment of monarchy, wealth, and luxury, who has attempted to pursue the study of philosophy laboriously, nor that you will cause many kings to desire such pursuits, and abandon those in which they now take such delight, from their ambition to rival your learning. 79. But, although I know this, none the less do I now act, and shall continue to act as the spectators at the athletic games, who encourage those competitors in the race who are struggling for victory, not those who are distanced and left behind. 80. It is my duty, then, and that of all your other friends, to speak and write in such a manner as may be likely to incite you to be eager to reach the goal which you now desire; as for you, it behoves you to neglect nothing, but, as in the past, so in the future, to attend to yourself, and to exercise your abilities, that you may prove worthy both of your father and your ancestors. For it is the duty of all to set a high value on wisdom, but especially is it incumbent on those who, like yourself, are possessed of power so great and extensive. 81. Nor must you be content with being already superior to your contemporaries, but you ought to feel indignant if, endowed as you are by nature, remotely descended from Zeus, and in most recent times from a man of such distinguished excellence, you do not far surpass all others, and, above all, those who enjoy the same honours as yourself. It is in your own power to avoid failure in this; for, if you continue in the pursuit of philosophy and maintain your present progress, you will soon become such a man as it behoves you to be.
1. According to others he was one of the judges of the infernal regions, together with Minos and Rhadamanthus.
2. According to Grote, the dispossession of the Greek dynasty by the Phoenician took place about B.C. 450. Professor Jebb thinks that, from the words of Isocrates, he, at any rate, assigned a much earlier date to it.
3. The Tyrian Abdemon.
4. And who might therefore have been expected to show some courage in facing their calamities.
5. Grote puts the date of the restoration of the Teucrid dynasty at about B.C. 411 or B.C. 410, remarking that Evagoras must have been a prince not only established on the throne, but powerful, since he ventured to give refuge to Conon after the battle of Aegospotami. It is said that Andocides visited Cyprus just after the fall of the 400 (B.C. 411, autumn), and found Evagoras then on the throne.
6. This fact is not mentioned by any other writer. According to Herodotus, i. 130, Cyrus, although he deprived Astyages of his kingdom, and kept him in prison (Astyages de ho Kuros, kakon houden allo poiêsas, eiche par' eôutô es ho eteleutêsen), did him no further harm.
7. i.e., a writer of discourses for display, such as the Helenae Encomium and Busiris. Benseler takes the phrase to mean "historian" = logographos.
8. "The years B.C. 413-405 were years of great distress for Athens; and, after B.C. 405, cases of banishment and confiscation were numerous in every city where there was a Spartan decarchy [oligarchical governing boards introduced into the cities by Lysander after the fall of Athens, in order to keep the former supporters of Athens in subjection. Their authority was upheld by a Spartan harmost and a body of soldiers, like Callibius and the 700 hoplites at Athens]. Thus the early years of the reign of Evagoras coincided with a period when such a refuge as Salamis was likely to attract the greatest number of settlers."--JEBB, Attic Orators, ii. 3.
9. "Evagoras, the friend of Conon, who assisted the Athenians in the re-establishment of their independence, was made a citizen of Athens, and statues of him and of Conon were placed side by side in the Cerameicus."--C. R. K.
10. At Cnidus, B.C. 394. [Check this footnote. The number does not appear in my copy of the Bohn's text, and I guessed at the placement.]
11. In the Cerameicus, a suburb of Athens, by the stoa basileios.
12. Artaxerxes Mnemon.
13. The date of the ten years' Cyprian War is given as B.C. 390-380. Evagoras seems to have been forced into the war. He at first met with considerable success, and received support from the Egyptians and the Athenians under Chabrias; the latter, however, deserted his cause after the conclusion of the peace of Antalcidas (B.C. 387). Evagoras attacked the Persians at Citium (B. C. 386), and was finally blockaded and defeated at Salamis. He still, however, held out, and at last the Persians, tired of the war, made peace and granted him full possession of Salamis, subject to payment of tribute.
14. Others render kata mikron, "inconsiderably."
15. See "Panegyricus," §141.
16. After the defeat of Evagoras, Pnytagoras fled to Egypt, and afterwards assisted in the defence of Salamis.
17. B.C. 396-394, during "the War of Rhodes." "Isocrates considers the war between Persia and Sparta as having virtually begun in B.C. 396, in which year Agesilaus took command in Asia, and Conon took the chief command of the Persian fleet. He considers that the victory at Cnidus deprived Sparta of her supremacy. This is of course a rhetorical exaggeration; for though it is true that the maritime power of Sparta was crushed at Cnidus, the Spartan archê in Hellas lasted till Leuctra."--JEBB, Attic Orators, ii. 112
18. The Lacedaemonians, after the battle of Cnidus.
From Isocrates' Orations Vol. I, translated by J. H. Freese. London: George Bell & Sons, 1894.
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