Panegyrica by Isocrates

436-338 BCE

Love of wisdom, then,

which has helped us to discover

and helped establish all that makes Athens great,

which has educated us for practical affairs

and made gentle our relations with each other,

which has distinguished misfortunes of ignorance

from those of necessity

and taught us to guard against the former

and bear up against the latter,

this love of wisdom our city made manifest

and honored speech,

which all desire

and envy those who know,

recognizing, on the one hand,

that this is the natural feature distinguishing us from all animals

and that, through that advantage it gives us, we excel them in all other things,

and seeing, on the other hand,

that in other areas fortune is troublesome

so that in those areas the wise fail

and the ignorant succeed,

and that there is no share of noble and artistic speech to the wicked,

but it is the product of a well-knowing soul,

and that the wise and those seemingly unlearned most differ from each other in this

and that those educated liberally, right from the start, are not recognized

by courage and wealth and such benefits,

but most by what has been said,

and that those who use speech well are not only powerful in their own cities,

but also honored among other men;

and to such an extent had our city outstripped the rest of mankind in wisdom and speech

that her students have become the teachers of others,

and she has made the name of the Hellenes seem no longer that of a people,

but that of an intelligence,

and that those rather are called Greeks

who share our education

than those who share our blood.

(Text copied from G.A. Kennedy "Classical Rhetoric...", Chapel Hill, 1980)