• Imagined Superpowers: Isocrates’ Opposition of Athens and Sparta

    Author(s):
    Carol Atack (see profile)
    Date:
    2018
    Group(s):
    Ancient Greece & Rome, Greek and Roman Intellectual History
    Subject(s):
    Ancient Greek history, history of political thought, Rhetoric
    Item Type:
    Book chapter
    Tag(s):
    Isocrates, Sparta
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/em54-7j76
    Abstract:
    Isocrates has been comparatively neglected as a source for political and cultural history and theory. However, the many works of his long career show a continuing engagement with Athenian political culture and the education of its political class, and his assessment of Sparta is significant for both of these. He imagines and explores the struggle for hegemony between Athens, Sparta and other Greek poleis, before the rise of Macedon reshaped the Greek political landscape, and does so through a series of works that aim to create and modify Athenian political identities, and to examine claims to lead any Panhellenic project, through his novel use of literary discourse. This paper explores some of the difficulties in making use of Isocrates’ texts to understand the political culture of Athens and in particular Athenian assessments of the power of Sparta. It shows how Isocrates’ literary style lends itself to the creation of artificial or exaggerated oppositions, and that the opposition between Athens and Sparta as political exemplars is one that Isocrates himself identifies from the political discourse of Athens.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Book chapter    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    4 months ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
    Share this:

    Downloads

    Item Name:pdf ca-isocrates-200316.pdf
     Download View in browser
    Activity: Downloads: 15