Ancient writers about Macedonia – Isocrates


Isocrates, Speeches and Letters, “To Philip”
“It is your privilege, as one who has been blessed with untrammeled freedom, to consider all Hellas your fatherland, as did the founder of your race.”
(Isokratis, Speeches and Letters, “To Philip” 127)

Argos is the land of your fathers, and is entitled to as much consideration at your hands as are your own ancestors…

(Isocrates, Speeches and Letters, “To Philip”, 32)

“Now I am not unaware that many of the Hellenes look upon the King’s power as invincible. Yet one may well marvel at them if they really believe that the power which was subdued to the will of a mere barbarian–an ill-bred barbarian at that–and collected in the cause of slavery, could not be scattered by A MAN OF THE BLOOD OF HELLAS, of ripe experience in warfare, in the cause of freedom–and that too although they know that while it is in all cases difficult to construct a thing, to destroy it is, comparatively, an easy task.Bear in mind that the men whom the world most admires and honors are those who unite in themselves the abilities of the statesman and the general. When, therefore, you see the renown which even in a single city is bestowed on men who possess these gifts, what manner of eulogies must you expect to hear spoken of you, when AMONG ALL THE HELLENES you shall stand forth as a statesman who has worked for the good of Hellas, and AS A GENERAL WHO HAS OVERTHROWN THE BARBARIANS?”
[Isocrates, Speeches and Letters, “To Philip”, 5.139, 5.140]

“Well, if I were trying to present this matter to any others before having broached it to my own country, WHICH HAS THRICE FREED HELLAS-twice from the barbarians and ONCE FROM THE LACEDAEMONIAN YOKE–I should confess my error. In truth, however, it will be found that I turned to Athens first of all and endeavored to win her over to this cause with all the earnestness of which my nature is capable,2 but when I perceived that she cared less for what I said than for the ravings of the platform orators,3 I gave her up, although I did not abandon my efforts.”
[Isocrates, Speeches and Letters, “To Philip”, 5.129]

“The Lacedaemonians were the leaders of the Hellenes, not long ago, on both land and sea, and yet they suffered so great a reversal of fortune when they met defeat at Leuctra that they were deprived of their power over the Hellenes, and lost such of their warriors as chose to die rather than survive defeat at the hands of those over whom they had once been masters.”
[Isocrates, Speeches and Letters, “To Philip”, 5.47]

“As I continued to say many things of this tenor, those who heard me were inspired with the hope that when my discourse should be published you and the Athenians would bring the war to an end, and, having conquered your pride, would adopt some policy for your mutual good. Whether indeed they were foolish or sensible in taking this view is a question for which they, and not I, may fairly be held to account; but in any case, while I was still occupied with this endeavour, you and Athens anticipated me by making peace before I had completed my discourse; and you were wise in doing so, for to conclude the peace, no matter how, was better than to continue to be oppressed by the evils engendered by the war. [8] But although I was in joyful accord with the resolutions which were adopted regarding the peace, and was convinced that they would be beneficial, not only to us, BUT ALSO TO YOU AND ALL THE OTHER HELLENES, I could not divorce my thought from the possibilities connected with this step, but found myself in a state of mind where I began at once to consider how the results which had been achieved might be made permanent for us, and how our city could be prevented from setting her heart upon further wars, after a short interval of peace.”
[Isocrates, Speeches and Letters, “To Philip”, 5.8]

Isocrates, “Panigirikos”

“*…How could they (the Macedonians) prove themselves more philhellines with what they did so as the rest (the other Greeks) would not be occupied…”

(Isocrates, Panigirikos, 96)

Want more of this? See these Posts:

  1. Ancient writers about Macedonia – Isocrates
  2. Ancient writers about Macedonia – Polybius
  3. Ancient writers about Macedonia – Aeschines
  4. Ancient writers about Macedonia – Diodorus Siculus
  5. Ancient writers about Macedonia – Aeschines