Apparently, Isocrates was not a sports fan

Lillian Bowles posted this quote on the wpa-l mailing list from one of my favs of the ancients, Isocrates:

“Many times have I wondered at those who first convoked the national assemblies and established the athletic games, amazed that they should have thought the prowess of men’s bodies to be deserving of so great bounties, while to those who had toiled in private for the public good and trained their own minds so as to be able to help also their fellow-men they apportioned no reward whatsoever, when, in all reason, they ought rather to have made provision for the latter; for if all the athletes should acquire twice the strength which they now possess, the rest of the world would be no better off; but let a single man attain to wisdom, and all men will reap the benefit who are willing to share his insight.�

From Isocrates, Panegyricus, Volume I, p. 121, translated by George Norlin. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard UP, 1980.

Yeah, but what smart guy is going to get a bunch of complete strangers in the same place and inspire them to do the wave?

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