The Great Sophists in Periclean Athens

The Great Sophists in Periclean Athens

Jacqueline de Romilly

Language: English

Pages: 280

ISBN: 019823807X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The arrival of the Sophists in Athens in the middle of the fifth century B.C. was a major intellectual event, for they brought with them a new method of teaching founded on rhetoric and bold doctrines which broke away from tradition. In this book de Romilly investigates the reasons for the initial success of the Sophists and the reaction against them, in the context of the culture and civilization of classical Athens.

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century, people began to want to understand, to know about the h u m a n body and how it functioned. It is impossible to say exactly when this happened, for the interest must have developed gradually. For us, medicine as a science begins with Hippocrates. But Hippo- 14 T H E R I S E AND S U C C E S S OF THE SOPHISTS crates, who came from Cos, seems to have been born in about 460, as were Thucydides and Democritus. So he cannot have been the first to arouse interest in medicine in the authors

associated with it.'' Also instrumental in preserving the legacy of the Sophists 4 T h e d i s t i n c t i o n is m a d e in t h e m a n n e r of P r o d i c u s (see b e l o w , pp. 7 4 - 5 ) . 5 T h e p r o b l e m d o e s n o t s e e m to h a v e b e e n of e s s e n t i a l i m p o r t a n c e to Aristotle, w h o t r i e d to m a k e r h e t o r i c m o r e scientific a n d a t last t u r n it i n t o a real techne, b u t d i d n o t c o n d e m n it o u t r i g h t as P l a t o did. 73 R H

162 7. Recovering the Virtues 8. Politics Conclusion and Afterthoughts Bibliographical Notes Chronological Table Index Supplementary References Translator's Note on Greek and Latin Texts 189 213 234 243 245 247 258 259 1 The Rise and Success of the Sophists WHO were these men whom we still, even today, refer to as 'the Sophists'? The word itself means professionals of the intelligence. And they certainly set out to teach people how to use their intelligence. They were not 'sages', sophoi, a

once again a struggle for power. This time, however, the protagonist is a royal prince, Eteocles, one of the two sons of Oedipus, who does not hesitate to engage in battle with his own brother and tear his country asunder in order to be the sole heir to an undivided patrimony. He would do anything, he says, to possess 'sovereignty, the greatest of all deities'; and that 'anything' includes injustice, as he himself admits, assuming full responsibility for the consequences: W h e n it comes to

e r L u c r e t i u s t r e a t e d it a t c o n s i d e r a b l e l e n g t h in b o o k 5 of h i s p o e m De Rerum Natura. This was a familiar framew o r k , then, in w h i c h a n a n a l y s i s c o u l d b e a c c o m m o d a t e d in a m o r e o r l e s s f i c t i o n a l f o r m . B u t — a s a l a r g e n u m b e r of t e x t s testify-"- t h e t h e m e a l s o p r o m p t e d f u n d a m e n t a l r e f l e c t i o n o n t h e b e g i n n i n g s a n d e v o l u t i o n of t h e h u m

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