Oeuvres Complettes d'Isocrate, Auxquelles on a Joint Quelques Discours Analogues à Ceux de cet Orateur, Tirés de Platon, de Lysias, de Thucydide, de Xénophon, de Démosthene, d'Antiphon, de Gorgias, d'Antisthene & d'Alcidamas

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by Isocrates

Oeuvres Complettes d'Isocrate

Title page from Oeuvres Complettes d'Isocrate, volume one, George Wythe Collection, Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary.

Author Isocrates
Editor {{{editor}}}
Translator M. l'abbé Auger
Published Paris: chez De Bure, fils aîné, Théoph. Barrois jeune
Date 1781
Edition {{{edition}}}
Language French
Volumes 3 volume set
Pages {{{pages}}}
Desc. 8vo (20 cm.)
Location Shelf I-1
  [[Shelf {{{shelf2}}}]]

Isocrates (436-338 BCE) was an ancient Greek rhetorician who made significant contributions to the field of rhetorical persuasion through his teachings and writings. He was born into a wealthy family and received an elite education.[1] However, following the Peloponnesian War, his family lost their wealth and Isocrates was forced to find a way to support himself.[2]

Isocrates began his career as a courtroom speech writer, and around 392 BCE he decided to set up his own rhetoric school.[3] During that time, Athens had no set curriculum for higher education. Isocrates spoke out against the predominant Sophist method of education and was able to establish himself as an influential teacher.[4] His school did not focus on the political debate techniques that were central to the Sophist approach to education; instead, the school focused on oratory studies, composition, history, citizenship, culture, and morality.[5] It was Isocrates' approach to education that formed the basis for the modern conception of Liberal Arts.[6]

Isocrates educated hundreds of pupils over his lifetime. The most notable were Timotheus, the Athenian general, prominent in Athens’ history between 378 and 355 BCE; Nicocles, the ruler of Salamis in Cyprus; and the two greatest Greek historians of the 4th century, Ephorus—who wrote a universal history—and Theopompus—who wrote the history of Philip II of Macedon.[7] Isocrates’ influence was embodied in his student’s achievements, and his legacy as an educator survived long after his death.

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Listed in the Jefferson Inventory of Wythe's Library as "Isocrate d'Auger. 3.v. 8vo." and kept by Thomas Jefferson. Later sold by Jefferson to the Library of Congress.[8] A copy of the 1781 edition at the Library of Congress, associated with Jefferson and the 1815 library, has no definitive Wythe markings. However, both the Brown Bibliography[9] and George Wythe's Library[10] on LibraryThing suggest that this copy once belonged to George Wythe. The Wolf Law Library purchased a copy of the same edition.

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

Bound in full leather, gilt-decorated, with red and green spine labels and gilt dentelle. Contains silk marker ribbons. Purchased from Poor Man's Books.

Images of the library's copy of this book are available on Flickr. View the record for this book in William & Mary's online catalog.

See also


  1. Thomas W. Benson and Michael H. Prosser, "Isocrates," in Readings in Classical Rhetoric (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1969), 43.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Patricia P. Matsen, "Isocrates Against the SophistsTranslated by George Norlin" in Readings From Classical Rhetoric (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1990), 43.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Encyclopædia Britannica Online, s.v. Isocrates," accessed October 31, 2013.
  8. E. Millicent Sowerby, Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, (Washington, D.C.: The Library of Congress, 1952-1959), 5:25 [no.4668].
  9. Bennie Brown, "The Library of George Wythe of Williamsburg and Richmond," (unpublished manuscript, May, 2012) Microsoft Word file.
  10. LibraryThing, s.v. "Member: George Wythe," accessed on April 28, 2013.

External Links

Read volume one of this book in Google Books.
Read volume three of this book in Google Books.