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Isocrate

Date de naissance: 436 av. J.-C.
Date de décès: 338 av. J.-C.

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Isocrate, en grec ancien Ἰσοκράτης / Isokrátês , est l'un des dix orateurs attiques. Diogène Laërce dit de lui qu'il est de six ans plus vieux que Platon. Il fut le fondateur d'une école de rhétorique célèbre, qui forma nombre d'orateurs. Son idéal de culture, qu'il appela philosophie, enseignait que l'art de bien parler passait par l'art de bien penser. Il s'opposa aux physiciens naturalistes du Ve siècle av. J.-C., aux sophistes et à Platon. Assoiffé de connaissance, Aristote commença par suivre les cours d’Isocrate, avant de décider de rentrer à l’Académie de Platon. Toute sa vie, il ne cessa d'appeler les Grecs à l'union pour lutter contre l'ennemi héréditaire que représentaient les Barbares, à savoir les Perses. Souvent comparé à Lysias, il a su donner à la prose une valeur artistique, comparable à celle de la poésie, qui a servi de modèle à l'ensemble des orateurs antiques, aussi bien de langue grecque que latine.

Citations Isocrate

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„Guard yourself against accusations, even if they are false; for the multitude are ignorant of the truth and look only to reputation.“

—  Isocrates
Context: Guard yourself against accusations, even if they are false; for the multitude are ignorant of the truth and look only to reputation. In all things resolve to act as though the whole world would see what you do; for even if you conceal your deeds for the moment, later you will be found out. But most of all will you have the respect of men, if you are seen to avoid doing things which you would blame others for doing. Verse 17.

„Never hope to conceal any shameful thing which you have done; for even if you do conceal it from others, your own heart will know.“

—  Isocrates
Context: Never hope to conceal any shameful thing which you have done; for even if you do conceal it from others, your own heart will know. … Pursue the enjoyments which are of good repute; for pleasure attended by honor is the best thing in the world, but pleasure without honor is the worst. Verse 16.

„Always when you are about to say anything, first weigh it in your mind; for with many the tongue outruns the thought.“

—  Isocrates
Context: Always when you are about to say anything, first weigh it in your mind; for with many the tongue outruns the thought. Let there be but two occasions for speech — when the subject is one which you thoroughly know and when it one on which you are compelled to speak. On these occasions alone is speech better than silence; on all others, it is better to be silent than to speak. Verse 41.

„Spend your leisure time in cultivating an ear attentive to discourse, for in this way you will find that you learn with ease what others have found out with difficulty.“

—  Isocrates
Context: If you love knowledge, you will be a master of knowledge. What you have come to know, preserve by exercise; what you have not learned, seek to add to your knowledge; for it is as reprehensible to hear a profitable saying and not grasp it as to be offered a good gift by one's friends and not accept it. Spend your leisure time in cultivating an ear attentive to discourse, for in this way you will find that you learn with ease what others have found out with difficulty. Verse 18.

„Consider that nothing in human life is stable; for then you will not exult overmuch in prosperity, nor grieve overmuch in adversity.“

—  Isocrates
Context: Consider that nothing in human life is stable; for then you will not exult overmuch in prosperity, nor grieve overmuch in adversity. Rejoice over the good things which come to you, but grieve in moderation over the evils which befall you, and in either case do not expose your heart to others; for it were strange to hide away one's treasure in the house, and yet walk about laying bare one's feelings to the world. Verse 42.

„The greatest thing in the small compass is a sound mind in a human body.“

—  Isocrates
Context: The greatest thing in the small compass is a sound mind in a human body. Strive with all your body to be a lover of toil, and with your soul to be a lover of wisdom, in order that with the one you may have the strength to carry out your resolves, and with the other the intelligence to foresee what is for your good. Verse 40.

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„Argos is the land of your fathers.“

—  Isocrates
To Philip, 5.32 (Loeb, G. Norlin).

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„Democracy destroys itself because it abuses its right to freedom and equality. Because it teaches its citizens to consider audacity as a right, lawlessness as a freedom, abrasive speech as equality, and anarchy as progress.“

—  Isocrates
A falsified quote invented during the 2010 financial crisis. [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Isoc.+7+20&fromdoc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0144] Isocrates' actual, more nuanced, quote runs as follows: Those who directed the state in the time of Solon and Cleisthenes did not establish a polity which … trained the citizens in such fashion that they looked upon insolence as democracy, lawlessness as liberty, impudence of speech as equality, and licence to do what they pleased as happiness, but rather a polity which detested and punished such men and by so doing made all the citizens better and wiser. Areopagiticus, 7.20 (Norlin)

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