The exchange” speech”
Isocrates birth time is in 436 BC prior to the Peloponnesian war which never ended until the Greek lost their independence to Macedonia at Chaeronea in 338 BC.
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He was well educated and he studied with the famous rhetorician Gorgias and for ten years he wrote speeches used in law courts. At around 392 BC he started teaching as a sophist. Isocrates wrote Antidosis both as a defence and as an autobiography or as a rhetorical treatise at the late age of 82 years.
The literal meaning of Antidosis is the exchange.Isocrates does this work in form of a court case where he has to defend himself against a case in which he is charged with corrupting the youth. This he does by teaching them the art and creativity of speech for the sole purpose of getting advantage over their peers.
Though this work is presented as an imaginary legal defence but it employs the art of speech to treatise morality and social teachings. The accusations include that his teachings to the youth are for them to speak against the courts, think for themselves and receiving money from his students.
However, Isocrates is teaching the youth speech so that they can grow into leaders and better citizens of the country. He is a lifelong teacher and categorically states that the education he offered Athens is more than any monetary donation he would offer them since he is producing educated and civic minded citizens. He devoted and sacrificed his life to provide adequate rhetorical education.
The education system stressed by this man was the ability to make use of language for the purpose of addressing practical problems referring them as more philosophy than rhetorics.For students to learn, they needed training of knowledge which was provided by teachers and books; also important was natural aptitude which is actually inborn and practices which are applicable and designed by teachers.
Isocrates said that a Greek is that individual who shared their common culture. He was a proponent of multiculturalism who invited the barbarians and the Greek to become part of an ethnic group.
He states in the Panegyricus that Athens, as a city has surpassed other men with its power of expression and wisdom such that the pupils it produces have grown into teachers of the world and the name of Hellene has moved from a mark of origin of race to that of intelligence.
Isocrates, Panathenaicus, tr. George Norlin 12-14.