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.
Chapter 5. Preaching and Patronage: The Intellectual and the King
The First Obituary Eulogies for Individuals in Their Scholastic Context
The encomium that traces a life from birth to death claims an unquestioned and seminal place in the history of Greek biography, and Isocrates’ foundational importance to the prose genre of such encomia has been recognized in the studies of Momigliano, Pernot, and Sonnabend.  However, because of an unjustly narrow and marginalizing understanding of Isocrates’ school, its contribution to the development and exploration of the genre’s possibilities has not been fully appreciated. In the fourth century, encomia of dead individuals were motivated not only by political considerations and literary ambitions, but equally by scholastic competition over the capital of intellectual authority. A brief survey of the obituary eulogies produced in the years between the death of Evagoras in 374/3 and the death of Philip in 336 will suggest that Isocrates did more than merely setting the stage with his Evagoras for Xenophon’s Agesilaus a few years later. Rather, Isocrates and Isocrateans were responsible for continued and complex contributions to encomiastic commemoration and the other genres into which it was being transformed. Thus, while it is true that these crucial early steps in the history of Greek biography were taken by intellectuals focused on Athens, we must expand the range of those whose works we take into account: not only philosophers with Socratic connections, but also Isocrates and the fragmentary remains of Isocrates’ students’ works during these years.
From murioi, from the base motivation of kharizomenoi, and from the subtitle of Aristotle’s own Gryllus—On Rhetoric  —we can infer that Aristotle did indeed weigh in on the nature of rhetoric  and on the excesses and deficiencies of how the new kind of epitaphios logos was already being put to use. While the participation of Isocrates, the genre’s founder, suggests that Aristotle’s work was anti-Isocratean (perhaps in a dialogic way  ), the two philosophoi were surely contesting the same basic claim we saw Isocrates stake in Evagoras: fitting praise of truly praiseworthy and virtuous qualities.  In any case, the fact that the myriad funeral orations for Gryllus provoked Aristotle to write his first work on the nature of rhetoric raises at least the possibility that these too, produced by school adherents experimenting with the new genre, self-consciously laid out important aspirations for what rhetoric could do, and how.
Isocrates is here moving to dissociate himself from a kind of encomium that any practiced hand could accomplish, while working to reclaim the less easily counterfeited authority of his didactic posture to rulers: his present advice for the son is worth more than yet another praise of the father. Consonant with the permanent and traditional Greek association between commemorating the dead and instructing the living, this is an indication (together with Isocrates’ many other efforts to cultivate his didactic authority) of what Isocrates also perceived as the limitations of the biographical plan.
Here, Lamachus of Smyrna is playing what is by now the banal and familiar game of prose eulogy for the deceased Philip and his living successor.
Hermias of Atarneus and Theocritus of Chios
σῆμα κενὸν κενόφρων θῆκεν Ἀριστοτέλης,
ὃς διὰ τὴν ἀκρατῆ γαστρὸς φύσιν εἵλετο ναίειν
ἀντ’ Ἀκαδημείας Βορβόρου ἐν προχοαῖς.
For Hermias, the eunuch and slave of Eubulus
empty-headed Aristotle made this empty tomb;
doing honor to his unrestrained belly, he chose to dwell
at the mouths of the Slime River rather than in the Academy. 
These verses seem to have had an effect: their popularity can be seen in the fact that they reach us in four traditions.  Düring aptly appreciates the value of the ditty’s clear attestation: “This contemporary evidence is extremely valuable, not only on account of the factual knowledge it affords, but also because it proves that the unfavourable biographical tradition was already strong in Aristotle’s lifetime.”  One of the sources, Didymus’ fragmentary commentary on Demosthenes, also preserves Theopompus’ similar but more obviously scholastic abuse of Hermias and thus is now the central document for the Hermias tradition.  This all comes under the heading “What those who have left a written record of Hermias of Atarneus say about him” (Περὶ Ἑρμίου τοῦ Ἀταρνείτου τί λέγουσιν οἱ τὰ περὶ αὐτὸν ἀναγράψαντες). 
The wise man’s counsel to the monarch is one of the most perennial of didactic genres, but somehow addresses to the Macedonian ruler, made when Philip had not yet reached a final settlement with the Greek cities, possess an air of urgency and high stakes that is lacking in the stories of the Seven Sages. This may largely be due to the fact that we get to read real missives to the king, from an era whose political pressures are fully familiar to us through the surviving works of Demosthenes and other Athenian politicians. The orators’ talk of plots and conspiracies has prepared our minds to see manipulations and machinations in any dealings between Philip and an Athenian party. Indeed, I will suggest that the unprecedented concentration of power and good fortune in Macedonian hands, among other factors more intellectual than political, led to some of the changes and accommodations that we might expect to develop in a world where the persuasion of a single man is of paramount importance. However, it seems that, even in these new political circumstances, a great deal of authority (and maybe even power) continues to attach to the wise man who speaks fearlessly in confidence of his own superior wisdom,  whether this is in tune with the older didactic tradition, or a phenomenon within “philosophical” culture, or both.
It is interesting that they expect their teacher rather to make an epidictic display or an artful encomium. This more-than-political text, we are told in this passage, is not epideixis, but rather protreptic, and there is some reason to hear a resonance of the philosophical use of that term. Most immediately, what Isocrates says here: a logos that will attempt to urge Philip on to nobler deeds than the ones he has currently chosen. This echoes an important principle expressed in Isocrates’ To Nicocles, a text that has been recognized as at the very head of the long European tradition of wise men’s open advice to princes:  “Those who educate private citizens [idiōtas] benefit only them, but if someone turns those in charge of [kratountas] the people to virtue, he would benefit both those holding positions of authority [dunasteias] and their subjects” (To Nicocles 8). In short, urge on a ruler to aretē, and you will benefit both him and his subjects. Isocrates’ philosophia is practical and focused on excellent actions (especially in public life). His discourse Philip is certainly based on the Macedonian king’s special status and influence, but it nonetheless casts his royal addressee in the role of a student of Isocratean philosophia. 
Here Isocrates, after didactically delivering some particularly harsh criticisms of Philip’s political mistakes, seems to explain his license to do so by the urgency of exploiting the kairos that is now available to Philip.
Midway through, Isocrates frets about the adequacy of his present arguments to the high purpose of “making others who are engaged in philosophia more adept” but takes comfort in the fact that others, presumably his students, will follow through on the pattern he has traced in outline (with the common sense of hupodeixai and hupographein further linking this to the passage just cited): “my discourse Panegyricus, which made others who are engaged in learning [tous peri tēn philosophian diatribontas] more adept … But I still think I will sketch [hupograpsein] out a pleasant discourse for those who can fill in the details and complete it [exergazesthai kai diaponein]” (Philip 84f.). Finally, this scholastic frame is completed in the discourse’s very last sentences, when Isocrates assigns to his plural “hearers” the right to measure his work against the standards of kairoi and exactitude:  “It is right for me to learn from you, my audience [par’ humōn tōn akouontōn], whether these things have been written with timeliness [tois kairois] and accuracy [tais akribeiais]” (Philip 155).
Isocrates’ Philip and Speusippus’ Letter to Philip
Speusippus’ Letter to Philip
Among all the evidence, much of it fragmentary, from which we can reconstruct a historical picture of the Academic and Isocratean cohorts’ status, relations, and corporate maneuvering for patronage during the lifetime of Philip, perhaps the most crucial document is a complete letter from Speusippus to Philip that is full of prima facie indications identifying it as an Academic intervention of 343/2 against the Isocrateans’ growing critical mass of influence at the Macedonian court. (Most notably, the letter interrupts its extended tirade against Isocrates to denounce the anti-Academic machinations of Isocrates’ alleged student Theopompus at Philip’s court.) The potential evidentiary import of this text demands a careful assessment of its value. A completely new appraisal of the historical and discursive contexts and content of the Speusippean letter would be beyond the scope of this study; fortunately, the recent study of Natoli, the first attempt at such an appraisal since Bickermann and Sykutris’s pathfinding 1928 edition and investigation, remedies this lack to a large extent and is a valuable new historical approach to the text.  Both of these thorough and careful reviews deemed the letter genuine. However, we still must ground our new assessment of the letter’s plausibility and significance on a full and critical consideration of some of the arguments that were made over it in the wake of Bickermann and Sykutris. Most particularly, this means reviewing in some detail the arguments put forward by Lucio Bertelli in two articles that critiqued Bickermann’s reasons for affirming two key aspects of the text’s historicity: its purported date and its purported Speusippean authorship. 
A Philosopher at Court: Euphraeus in Carystius, the Letter to Philip, and Demosthenes
Bertelli identifies two problematic discrepancies in Carystius that he interprets as evidence for an original of which the Letter to Philip may be a recreation or reelaboration. One of these discrepancies is a matter of expository technique and verbal expression, and we will consider this at length before proceeding to the other divergence, which concerns the facts, too, and which is the sole point on which Bertelli finds corroboration outside the Athenaeus passage for his view that Carystius constitutes an independent textual tradition.
This passage puts the emphasis squarely on Euphraeus’ qualifications in political theory, despite its speaking of utility to a real monarch. Even Euphraeus’ potential rivals in “searching out the logoi of monarchy”—whom we might easily imagine as products of a less philosophical and more conventional political paideia—are classed as “those connected with your diatribē,” a word in which it is hard not to hear philosophical or scholastic connotations when it is applied to a serious pursuit. 
This is an attractive argument that Euphraeus never really crossed the line into the field of politics. While arising from a different point of view, these questions about the “political” adventures of someone like Euphraeus assist our developing understanding of how the inner-circle world of philosophers, with its intellectual and literary concerns, could seek to situate itself with reference to or even within courtly circles, but in a manner that does not really resemble naked political intervention.
Contestants, Motivations, and Literary Modes in the Letter to Philip
After an interval of only a few years, Antipater would feel free to argue that the bonds between Philip and these poleis had precisely the effect of entitling him not to use the cautious sense of responsibility that Isocrates here demands. In comparison, Isocrates’ performance of didactic authority commands respect.
The Letter to Philip as Evidence for School Politics
This occasion, on which Antipater, gathered with other Academics, laid out guidelines for a more obsequious follow-up to Isocrates’ Philip, is mentioned only incidentally but gives valuable evidence for Academic practice under Speusippus. The phrase “when Isocrates’ speech was read among us at school” lets us imagine the philosophers (at a time when historians of philosophy will assure us of the Academy’s philosophical seriousness) hashing out a rhetorical-political criticism of Isocrates’ political discourse.  The scholastic motivations for this intervention are transparent.
I have made a point of translating this passage boldly,  especially since the existing English translations are confused and even contradictory. The important point that emerges from my interpretation is that Isocrates is deriding his fellow intellectuals for how they have spent their intellectual and scholastic energies (I take διατρίβειν in the technical sense of “school activity”) on polemics against him. Cleverly, despite the fact that Isocrates’ philosophical attackers probably would have portrayed his novel early forensic production as a very small-minded pursuit, all of this is couched in terms of finding suitably lofty and morally consequential subjects for discourse and debate.
This is an excellent starting point, if it does need to be supplemented by our earlier discussions in some respects. First, we require an explanation that will really render intelligible how much of “the lamp and the dust” there still is in the Letter to Philip. Second, we must be wary of exaggerating the effectiveness of the letter as purely political rhetoric. It is something of a stretch when Griffith turns to imagine just how painful a public relations “deafening silence” it would take to make Philip welcome the prospect of having this letter put in front of a general reading public as an effective counterblast “from an Athenian pen,” under the theory that “Anything is better than silence, even a Pravda or a Speusippus.”  In fact, we cannot laugh away the fact that the Letter to Philip is all too Pravda-like not to have been addressed first and foremost to the nomenklatura.