Wareh, Tarik. 2013. The Theory and Practice of Life: Isocrates and the Philosophers. Hellenic Studies Series 54. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_WarehT.The_Theory_and_Practice_of_Life.2012.
Conclusion: Isocrateanism in the Renaissance
Erasmus, Machiavelli, Castiglione
Isocrates’ confidence in the princely-didactic role, which never left him, stands out in clear relief against the exile’s humbler assertion of his doctrine’s value. The verbal echoes are close and striking. Both authors begin their texts by contrasting their own approach to the prince with the courtiers’ being “accustomed” to offer costly but superficial gifts.  Both declare their own most precious gift to be their authoritative judgment (“define,” “knowledge”) about kingly “actions” or “activities.”  Machiavelli also sounds an Isocratean note in his defense of his book’s unornamented style:
Here Machiavelli is less apologetic for the severity of his style than Isocrates (who blames his old age). Burd, despite his caution and general rejection of arguments for Machiavelli’s unproven knowledge of Greek, accepted this as an imitation of Isocrates’ Philip 27f.,  a work not known to have existed in Latin translation until Lonicer’s Orationes (1529). I was independently struck by the resemblance in thought between Machiavelli’s words and this passage.  Isocrates makes the same points in the same order as Machiavelli: no measured cadences or richly embroidered surface (eurhuthmiais kai poikiliais kekosmēkamen), despite the gratifying effects of such devices in the hands of those who learned them from the younger Isocrates (tous logous hēdious an … poioien), but rather a strict attention to the facts (praxeis) worthy of his royal addressee’s attention. When Machiavelli goes on to excuse the presumption of his laying down rules for princes (presunzione se un uomo di basso ed infimo stato ardisce discorrere e regolare i governi dei principi), he perhaps echoes Erasmus’ preemptive answer to charges of fawning or impertinence (adulationis vel procacitatis) on the grounds of his sixteen-year-old dedicatee’s youth and relative inexperience (admodum adolescens, et nuper inauguratus imperio), and both are grappling with the problems of princely didactics on which they could take so many lessons from Isocrates: the pitfalls and vulnerabilities of such speech, set against its nobility and high opportunities.
As Isocrates’ school nurtured literary and political leaders alike, so the court of Urbino is the nursery of ecclesiastic and temporal lords; as Isocrates’ students are unified in a shared form of “imitation,” so the example of the Urbino court’s “laudable manners” deserves no small credit for della Rovere’s dukedom.
The same could not be said of those students who issued forth from Isocrates’ Trojan horse! Looking just below the surface, we find Castiglione celebrating the Ciceronian (and Isocratean) idea of the unity of rhetoric and philosophy, as he inquires into human matters whose truths cannot be had by dividing the two.
Elizabeth and Isocrates: “To Meet Every Contingency of Life”
The historian John Bale’s catalogue, contemporary with Elizabeth, recorded the Latin incipits of translations in the queen’s hand of both To Nicocles and Nicocles.