Isocrates, an ancient Greek rhetorician, was one of the ten Attic orators. In his time, he was probably the most influential rhetorician in Greece and made many contributions to rhetoric and education through his teaching and written works.
Unlike most rhetoric schools of the times which were taught by itinerant sophists, Isocrates defined himself with his treatise Against the Sophists. This polemic was written to explain and advertise the reasoning and educational principles behind his newly opened school. He promoted his broad-based education by speaking against two types of teachers: the Eristics who disputed about theoretical and ethical matters and the Sophists, who taught political debate techniques.
Isocrates was born to a wealthy family in Athens and received a fine education. He was greatly influenced by his sophist teachers, Prodicus and Gorgias, and was also closely acquainted with Socrates. After the Peloponnesian War, Isocrates' family lost its wealth, and Isocrates was forced to earn a living.