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Introduction

In this letter Isocrates addresses the oligarchic government of Mytilenê in Lesbos, which had overthrown the democracy not long before. Since the oligarchs had shown unexpected clemency and moderationa the orator, on the insistent request of his grandsons, begs for the restoration from exile of the distinguished musician Agenor, their teacher, and his family.

The authenticity of Letter 8 is unquestioned. The date appears to be 350 b.c., as may be determined from § 8, where Isocrates says that “if Conon and Timotheüs were still living and Diophantus had returned from Asia” they would support his plea. Timotheüs, son of Conon, had died in 354 b.c., and Diophantus the Athenian was serving the king of Egypt against Artaxerxes Ochus in 351–350 b.c.b

  • aSee § 3.
  • bCf. Diodorus xvi. 48.
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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.isocrates-letters_8_rulers_mytilenaeans.1945