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Headword: Ἰσαῖος
Adler number: iota,620
Translated headword: Isaeus, Isaios
Vetting Status: high
He is one of the ten orators; pupil of Isocrates;[1] teacher of Demosthenes;[2] Athenian by birth. But Demetrius[3] says he was from Chalcis.
This man is praised both as an orator and because he advanced Demosthenes for no fee.
The orator Isaeus[4] was dissolute as a young man, but later on was moderate. Someone asked him, 'What is the best fish and the best bird to eat?'. Isaeus said, 'I have stopped taking those things seriously; I realised that I was picking fruit in Tantalus' garden.' He was, I suppose, showing the questioner that all pleasures are shadows and dreams.
Greek Original:
Ἰσαῖος: εἷς μέν ἐστι τῶν δέκα ῥητόρων, μαθητὴς δὲ Ἰσοκράτους, διδάσκαλος δὲ Δημοσθένους, Ἀθηναῖος τὸ γένος. Δημήτριος δὲ Χαλκιδέα φησὶν αὐτὸν εἶναι. οὗτος ἐπαινεῖται καὶ ὡς ῥήτωρ καὶ ὡς Δημοσθένην ἀμισθὶ προαγαγών. ὅτι Ἰσαίου τοῦ ῥήτορος νεωτέρου ἀσωτευομένου, ὕστερον δὲ σωφρονήσαντος, ἤρετο αὐτόν τις: τίς ἄριστος τῶν ἰχθύων καὶ τῶν ὀρνέων εἰς βρῶσιν; πέπαυμαι, ἔφη ὁ Ἰσαῖος, ταῦτα σπουδάζων: ξυνῆκα γὰρ τοὺς Ταντάλου κήπους τρυγῶν: ἐνδεικνύμενος δήπου τῷ ἐρομένῳ ταῦτα, ὅτι σκιὰ καὶ ὀνείρατα αἱ ἡδοναὶ πᾶσαι.
c.420-340s BC. See generally RE Isaios(1); OCD4 Isaeus(1).
The first paragraph here abridges Harpokration (and Photius) s.v.
[1] See iota 652 (Isocrates).
[2] See delta 454 (Demosthenes).
[3] Demetrius Magnes (RE Demetrios[80]; NP Demetrios[57]; OCD4 Demetrius[16]) fr. 6b Mejer (Hermes 109 [1981] 456).
[4] This anecdote (from Philostratus, Lives of the Sophists 1.20; again at tau 80) is in fact about the first century AD sophist of the same name (RE Isaios[2]; OCD4 Isaeus[2]).
Keywords: biography; dreams; economics; ethics; food; history; mythology; philosophy; rhetoric
Translated by: Malcolm Heath on 24 November 2000@09:35:30.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (added note; cosmetics) on 25 August 2001@11:30:57.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 2 October 2005@08:43:40.
David Whitehead (another note; more keywords; cosmetics) on 10 July 2011@06:16:00.
David Whitehead (updated some refs) on 2 August 2014@06:59:38.


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