Isocrates. Isocrates with an English Translation in three volumes, by Larue Van Hook, Ph.D., LL.D. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1945-1968.

Nor again, though he was a man of surpassing merit in these respects, will Evagoras be found deficient in all others, but, in the first place, although gifted by nature with the highest intelligence and capable of successful action in very many fields, yet he judged that he should not slight any matter or act on the spur of the moment in public affairs: nay, he spent most of his time in inquiring, in deliberation, and in taking counsel, for he believed that if he should prepare his mind well, all would be well with his kingdom also[*](Cf. Isoc. 2.10.); and he marvelled at those who, while they cultivate the mind for all other ends, take no thought of the mind itself.

Again, in public affairs he held to the same opinion: for, seeing that those persons who look best after realities are least worried, and that the true freedom from anxiety is to be found, not in inactivity, but in success and patient endurance, he left nothing unexamined: on the contrary, so thoroughly was he cognizant of public affairs and so thorough was his knowledge of each of the citizens, that neither those who conspired against him took him unawares, nor did the good citizens remain unknown to him, but all got their deserts: for he neither punished nor honored them on the basis of what he heard from others, but from his own knowledge he judged them.

When he had engaged himself in the care of such matters he made not a single mistake in dealing with the unexpected incidents which daily befell, but he governed the city so reverently and humanely that visitors to the island[*](Cf. § 51.) did not so much envy Evagoras his office as they did the citizens their government under him: for throughout his whole life he never acted unjustly toward anyone but ever honored the good: and while he ruled all his subjects with strictness, yet he punished wrongdoers in accordance with the laws;

and while he was in no need of advisers, yet he sought the counsel of his friends. He yielded often to his intimates, but in everything dominated his enemies: he inspired respect, not by the frownings of his brow, but by the principles of his life—in no thing was he disposed to carelessness or caprice, but observed his agreements in deed as well as word;

he was proud, not of successes that were due to Fortune, but of those that came about through his own efforts: his friends he made subject to himself by his benefactions the rest by his magnanimity he enslaved: he inspired fear, not by venting his wrath upon many, but because in character he far surpassed all others: of his pleasures he was the master and not their servant: by little labor he gained much leisure, but would not, to gain a little respite, leave great labors undone;

in general, he fell in no respect short of the qualities which belong to kings, but choosing from each kind of government the best characteristic, he was democratic in his service to the people, statesmanlike in the administration of the city as a whole, an able general in his good counsel in the face of dangers, and princely in his superiority in all these qualities. That these attributes were inherent in Evagoras, and even more than these, it is easy to learn from his deeds themselves.[*](In §§ 43-46 the strong influence of Gorgias is obvious in the long series of artificial antitheses and in the varied assonance.)

After he had taken over the government of the city, which had been reduced to a state of barbarism and, because it was ruled by Phoenicians, was neither hospitable to the Greeks nor acquainted with the arts, nor possessed of a trading-port or harbor, Evagoras remedied all these defects and, besides, acquired much additional territory, surrounded it all with new walls and built triremes, and with other construction so increased the city that it was inferior to none of the cities of Greece. And he caused it to become so powerful that many who formerly despised it, now feared it.[*](See Isoc. 4.141 for the fleet and army of Evagoras.)

And yet it is not possible that cities should take on such increase unless there are those who govern them by such principles as Evagoras had and as I endeavored to describe a little before. In consequence I am not afraid of appearing to exaggerate in speaking of the qualities of the man, but rather lest I greatly fall short of doing justice to his deeds.

For who could do justice to a man of such natural gifts, a man who not only increased the importance of his own city, but advanced the whole region surrounding the island to a regime of mildness and moderation? Before Evagoras gained the throne the inhabitants were so hostile to strangers and fierce that they considered the best rulers to be those who treated the Greeks in the most cruel fashion.

At present, however, they have undergone so great a change that they strive with one another to see who shall be regarded as most friendly to the Greeks, and the majority of them take their wives from us and from them beget children, and they have greater pleasure in owning Greek possessions and observing Greek institutions than in their own, and more of those who occupy themselves with the liberal arts and with education in general now dwell in these regions than in the communities in which they formerly used to live. And for all these changes, no one could deny that Evagoras is responsible.

The most convincing proof of the character and uprightness of Evagoras is this—that many of the most reputable Greeks left their own fatherlands and came to Cyrus to dwell, because they considered Evagoras's rule less burdensome and more equitable than that of their own governments at home.[*](E.g., Andocides, the Athenian orator, who had an estate in Cyprus (cf. Andoc. 1.4), and other Greeks who were forced into exile.) To mention all the others by name would be too great a task:

but who does not know about Conon, first among the Greeks for his very many glorious deeds, that when his own city had met with ill-fortune,[*](The Athenian fleet under Conon was defeated by the Spartans at Aegospotami in 405 B.C. After this “ill-fortune” Conon, with eight triremes, took refuge with Evagoras, where he remained until 397 B.C.) he chose out of all the world Evagoras and came to him, believing that for himself Evagoras would provide the most secure asylum and for his country the most speedy assistance. And indeed Conon, although he had been successful in many previous ventures, in no one of them, it is believed, had he planned more wisely than in this;

for the result of his visit to Cyprus was that he both conferred and received most benefits. In the first place, no sooner had Evagoras and Conon met one another than they esteemed each other more highly than those who before had been their intimate friends. Again, they not only were in complete harmony all their lives regarding all other matters, but also in matters relating to our own city they held to the same opinion.

For when they beheld Athens under the domination of the Lacedaemonians and the victim of a great reversal of fortune, they were filled with grief and indignation, both acting fittingly: for Conon was a native son of Athens, and Evagoras, because of his many generous benefactions, had legally been given citizenship by the Athenians.[*](This is attested by Dem. 12.10.) And while they were deliberating how they might free Athens from her misfortunes, the Lacedaemonians themselves soon furnished the opportunity: for, as rulers of the Greeks on land and sea, they became so insatiate that they attempted to ravage Asia[*](Agesilaus, king of Sparta, was leader.) also.

Conon and Evagoras seized this opportunity, and, as the generals of the Persian king were at a loss to know how to handle the situation, these two advised them to wage war against the Lacedaemonians, not upon land but upon the sea, their opinion being that if the Persians should organize an army on land and with this should gain a victory, the mainland alone would profit, whereas, if they should be victors on the sea, all Hellas would have a share in the victory.

And that in fact is what happened: the generals followed this advice, a fleet was assembled, the Lacedaemonians were defeated in a naval battle[*](Off Cnidus, 394 B.C.) and lost their supremacy, while the Greeks regained their freedom and our city recovered in some measure its old-time glory and became leader of the allies. And although all this was accomplished with Conon as commander, yet Evagoras both made the outcome possible and furnished the greater part of the armament.

In gratitude we honored them with the highest honors and set up their statues[*](In front of the Zeus Stoa in the Agora: cf. Pausanias i. 3. 2.) where stands the image of Zeus the Savior, near to it and to one another, a memorial both of the magnitude of their benefactions and of their mutual friendship. The king of Persia, however, did not have the same opinion of them: on the contrary, the greater and more illustrious their deeds the more he feared them. Concerning Conon I will give an account elsewhere[*](Isocrates gives a brief discussion of Conon's affairs in Isoc. 5.62-64.); but that toward Evagoras he entertained this feeling not even the king himself sought to conceal.

For he was manifestly more concerned about the war in Cyprus than about any other, and regarded Evagoras as a more powerful and formidable antagonist than Cyrus, who had disputed the throne with him.[*](Cf. Xen. Anab. 1 for the famous expedition of Cyrus the Younger against his brother Artaxerxes II. See Isoc. 4.145.) The most convincing proof of this statement is this: when the king heard of the preparations Cyrus was making he viewed him with such contempt that because of his indifference Cyrus almost stood at the doors of his palace before he was aware of him.[*](The battle of Cunaxa (401 B.C.) in which Cyrus was slain. The distance from Babylon, according to Xenophon, was 360 stades (c. 45 miles).) With regard to Evagoras, however, the king had stood in terror of him for so long a time that even while he was receiving benefits from him he had undertaken to make war upon him—a wrongful act, indeed, but his purpose was not altogether unreasonable.

For the king well knew that many men, both Greeks and barbarians, starting from low and insignificant beginnings, had overthrown great dynasties, and he was aware too of the lofty ambition of Evagoras and that the growth of both his prestige and of his political activities was not taking place by slow degrees: also that Evagoras had unsurpassed natural ability and that Fortune was fighting with him as an ally.

Therefore it was not in anger for the events of the past, but with forebodings for the future, nor yet fearing for Cyprus alone, but for reasons far weightier, that he undertook the war against Evagoras. In any case he threw himself into it with such ardor that he expended on this expedition more than fifteen thousand talents.[*](A talent of gold was worth about $1200 or 300 pounds.)