Ἰσαῖος δὲ ὁ Δημοσθένους καθηγησάμενος καὶ διὰ τοῦτο μάλιστα γενόμενος περιφανής, ὡς μέν τινες ἱστοροῦσιν, Ἀθηναῖος ἦν τὸ γένος, ὡς δ᾿ ἕτεροι γράφουσι, Χαλκιδεύς. ἤκμασε δὲ μετὰ τὸν Πελοποννησιακὸν πόλεμον, ὡς ἐκ λόγων αὐτοῦ τεκμαίρομαι, καὶ μέχρι τῆς Φιλίππου δυναστείας παρεξέτεινε. γενέσεως δὲ καὶ τελευτῆς τοῦ ῥήτορος ἀκριβῆ χρόνον εἰπεῖν οὐκ ἔχω οὐδὲ δὴ περὶ τοῦ βίου τἀνδρός, οἷός τις ἦν, οὐδὲ περὶ τῆς προαιρέσεως τῶν πολιτευμάτων οὐδέν, ἀρχὴν εἰ προείλετό τινα ἢ πολιτείαν, οὐδ᾿ ὅλως περὶ τῶν τοιούτων οὐδενὸς διὰ τὸ μηδεμιᾷ1 τοιαύτῃ περιτυγχάνειν ἰστορίᾳ. οὐδὲ γὰρ ὁ τοὺς Ἰσοκράτους μαθητὰς ἀναγράψας Ἕρμιππος, ἀκριβὴς ἐν τοῖς ἄλλοις γενόμενος, ὑπὲρ τοῦδε τοῦ ῥήτορος οὐδὲν εἴρηκεν ἔξω δυεῖν τούτων, ὅτι διήκουσε μὲν Ἰσοκράτους καθηγήσατο δὲ Δημοσθένους.
λείπεται δὴ περὶ τῆς προαιρέσεως καὶ δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ καὶ τίνι κέχρηται χαρακτῆρι λέγειν. γένους
Isaeus was the teacher of Demosthenes and became1 famous chiefly for that reason. According to some his family was Athenian, while others record that it was Chalcidian.1 I deduce from his speeches that he was in his prime after the Peloponnesian war, and lived on into the years of Philip’s hegemony. I am unable to give precise dates for the orator’s birth, or to describe the kind of life he led. His political persuasion is likewise unknown to me: I do not know whether he preferred absolute or constitutional government, and am completely unable to answer all questions of this kind because I have not come upon any such information. Even Hermippus,2 the biographer of the pupils of Isocrates who is accurate in other matters, supplies only two facts about Isaeus, that he studied for some time under Isocrates and was Demosthenes’s teacher.
It remains to describe the style in which he chose2 to write, to assess its effectiveness, and to distinguish
- 1The tradition of Isaeus's Athenian origins is attributed to Hermippus, see note 2, p.175, and that of Chalcidian origins to Demetrius of Magnesia, by Harpocration (s.v. Ἰσαῖος). [Plutarch], Lives of the Ten Orators, 839E mentions only his Chalcidian origin, and calls him Isaeus of Chalcis in the Life of Demosthenes, 844B.
- 2Born at Smyrna probably during the 3rd Century b.c. Peripatetic biographer who was a major source for Plutarch, Diogenes Laertius and others.