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    Posted: 07-Feb-2005 at 13:41

This is an essay I wrote concerning the Sophists in Ancient Athens, if anyone's interested.

 

What was the Athenian reaction towards the Sophists and their ideas?

 

By the second half of the fifth century BCE Athens had developed a sophisticated democracy - its institutions working in tandem to decentralise power, promote popular participation and, in general, to vest sovereignty in the hands of the people – the demos, in Greek terms. This political system was unique and radical in its time, and the Athenians’ governmental ingenuity was in many ways paralleled by their creative developments - in art, architecture, literature, philosophy and elsewhere; this epoch bearing witness to the history of Herodotus, the plays of Euripides and Aristophanes, the building of the Parthenon and the philosophical speculations of Socrates. Given this, as well as the fact that Athens had, by this time, established extensive diplomatic links through alliances and the Delian League, it is perhaps unsurprising that a number of itinerant intellectuals, the Sophists, were drawn to dwell and teach there, in the city that Plato’s Hippias calls "the very headquarters of Greek wisdom" (Protagoras 337d). Indeed, the peculiar nature of the Athenian political system - its tendency to empower the charismatic and the persuasive, above all, the good speaker - may have brought considerable demand for their services. Yet, as we shall see, the Sophists were not always welcome in Athens. This essay seeks to establish, insofar as it is possible, the extent to which Athenians reacted against the Sophists and their ideas; how far they were respected and how far they were shunned.

The term "Sophist", literally, referred to one who was clever or wise, and it was used in this sense by Herodotus to describe men such as Pythagoras, Solon and the founders of the Dionysiac cult (4.95.2, 1.29.1, 2.49.1). But, by the second half of the fifth century, the word came more to denote a professional class of itinerant teachers who claimed to have some high degree of wisdom and furthermore claimed the ability to impart it to others (Xenophon Mem I.6.13 ) - whether this be in private seminars or in larger displays (both mentioned in Hippias Major 282c) – for a considerable fee. Specifically what they taught differed immensely; where they had something in common was in their teaching of rhetoric, and, for all except Gorgias, in their professed ability to teach virtue - or areté - to others. Perhaps they would have accepted the definition Socrates gives to them in the Protagoras (313c) – that a sophist is "a seller of the goods by which the soul [or mind] is nourished".

The Sophists’ ideas were incredibly wide in scope, Hippias alone professing to teach, amongst other things, geometry, astronomy, music and rhythms, painting, sculpture and mnemonics, (Hippias Major 285B-286A; Philostratus’ Lives of the Sophists I, II, 495). This diversity is perhaps unsurprising, when one considers the fact that the Sophists were never a distinct philosophical "school", in the sense that, say, a group like the Stoics were. It is not necessary, therefore to discuss all or even perhaps the majority of the Sophists’ ideas here; many of their ideas were too idiosyncratic for either the Athenians to know or care about particularly. Some of their ideas can also be explained as and when they arise and the reactions towards them are explained throughout this essay. It is worth, though, broadly establishing at this point a number of their key thoughts, so as to get a flavour for what the movement was about.

The first aspect of the Sophists’ general philosophical outlook - which Socrates was to take issue with - was their moral and epistemological relativity, most clearly expressed in Protagoras’ dictum "man is the measure of all things, of things that are that they are, and of things that are not, that they are not." (Thaetetus 151e; Sextus Empiricius, Outlines of Pyrrhonism I, 216-19; also Against the Mathematicians VII 60-62). What he meant by this is that there is no truth, no "right" or "wrong" nor even any objective reality independent of and external to the observer, but that reality is only a matter of individual human perception. It follows from this point that convictions, values and ideas, being based entirely in the realm of the subjective, are potentially almost infinitely malleable. As such, the Sophists’ abstract concepts of relativity came to justify the second aspect of their teaching, the art of persuasion and public speaking – rhetoric – which was on all their curricula (Phaedrus266c – 267d). Thirdly, all of the Sophists believed in some basic distinction between nomos (law or custom) and physis (nature). They differed, however, in the conclusions that they drew from this premise. Some, for example, almost anticipated Nietzschean ideas of "might is right" – that power should be justice and not held back by nomos. Such an argument is attributed to Thrasymachus in the Republic (I 338c), and further evidence for its currency can be found in Thucydides’ account (Bk.5.89) of the Athenian delegation to Melos. More often the distinction served to throw doubt onto prevailing beliefs – for example, was slavery acceptable as physis, or was it merely a product of nomos? Many of the Sophists came to believe that religion itself was merely such a product of nomos, and this leads onto the fourth aspect of their thinking - religious scepticism. The agnostic sentiment of the Sophists is perhaps expressed most succinctly in the opening line to Protagoras’ book, On the Gods, in which he says: "Concerning the Gods, I am not in a position to know either that they exist, or that they do not exist" (Diogenes Laertius, Lives of the Philosophers, IX 51; Eusebius, Praepartio Evangelica, 14.3.7) Prodicus even seems to have gone so far as to posit rational anthropological explanations for religion (Philodemus, On Piety cols 9, 7; Sextus Empiricius, Against The Mathematicians IX 18). Lastly, the Sophists claimed the ability to impart areté – human excellence or virtue – which hitherto had been assumed to only to be the result of natural gifts which were the mark of good birth; this claim can be seen in Plato’s Sophist (244d), in which the Sophists are said to have been "dealing in words and learning that have to do with virtue". It should be noted here that, whilst no two Sophists shared identical ideas and beliefs, and many did not hold or were not interested in a number of the views covered here, the Athenians may have generalised and grouped Sophists under a single banner, in the same way that, later on, Socrates - to the extent that Aeschines (Timarch. 173) could comfortably dub him "Socrates the Sophist" - was to be conflated with them all.

The Athenians as a whole were not, of course, a single homogenous unit; opinions regarding the Sophists would not have been uniform. It is necessary therefore to stratify Athenian society and to deal with reactions to the Sophists from different classes in turn. Any such stratification is to a large degree arbitrary, and, whilst I have divided the social unit into "upper class", "middle class" and "average citizens", there was undoubtedly a considerable degree of blurring between these in reality. It is worth bearing in mind that, inevitably, any account of the "Athenian reaction" almost exclusively refers to the Athenian citizens, or else prominent metics. There are large chunks of Athenian society – most obviously the entire female and slave populations – of whose views we have little or no idea. I shall deal first with the views of the Athenian upper classes.

A significant portion of the Upper class –those whose wealth would place them in the pentokosiomedimni or hippeis legal categories – seem to have regarded the Sophists with disdain and to have considered their ideas as dangerously subversive and radical. It appears that many such conservatives (who were not necessarily oligarchs) thought the Sophists and their new ideas to have a corrupting, harmful effect upon Athens. A first example can be seen in Plato’s Meno. Anytus, who is described (90a) as "the son of Anthemion, a man of wealth and wisdom" says that "they [the Sophists] cause the ruin and corruption of their followers". Although it might be thought that Plato could be putting words into the mouth of Anytus here, judging by the fact that on all accounts he was supposed to have been one of Socrates’ accusers, it seems fitting for him to have viewed an intellectual movement such as Sophism with disdain. Callicles, also from the upper class, dismisses them in Plato’s Gorgias (520a) as "worthless fellows". According to Philostratus (Lives of the Sophists) a certain Chaerephon, too, was a "begrudger" of them, this claim in particular, though, seem dubious, for at the beginning of Plato’s Gorgias Chaerephon is actually portrayed as Gorgias’ friend. Plato (Laches 197d) puts a further disparaging remark about the Sophists, in connection with Prodicus, into the mouth of the strategos Laches.

The use of Plato as a source for the views of the rich should be treated with some caution, as his accounts are at least partially fictional, and he may not have been averse to bending the truth a little in order to make a point. However it seems unlikely that Plato would have completely fabricated or even grossly exaggerated the views he gives of the rich. In the first place, much of what he says is supported in other sources. The wealthy Xenophon, for instance, in a moral epilogue to his treatise on hunting (ch.13) castigates the Sophists as masters of fraud, and it can be seen from the conservative Aristophanes’ general outlook in his Clouds that he considers sophism to have had a negative influence on Athenian society and the young in particular. As well as this, the causes for many of the wealthy to dislike the Sophists seem to stand up to reason. The conservative upper classes, by inclination, would have been opposed to the Sophists radical views concerning morality, religion and the authority of law, and probably would have viewed such thoughts as evidence for growing decadence1. Conservatives would have viewed as anathema the Sophists’ professed ability to impart aréte, for if virtue could be taught it implied that non-aristocratic circles could and rightly should succeed politically. Besides all this, the rich may have simply not liked the prospect of a number of foreigners legally residing in Athens and earning outrageous sums of money – to easily rival theirs’ - by non-traditional means. By nearly all accounts the Sophists were vastly rich (Meno 91d; Hippias Major 282d); only Isocrates (Antid. 155f) appears to claim they lived modestly, and this is more than likely him trying to preserve his own reputation2. Finally, the conservative rich may have expressed concern at the fact that many of the Sophists gained popularity with rich youths, perhaps their own children – in Plato’s Sophist (223b) sophists are said to practice "the hunting of rich, prominent young men", and in Aristophanes’ Clouds they’re said to "corrupt its [Athens’] young people".

That these young, rich men were being drawn towards the Sophists may, however, highlight the fact that the view of the Athenian upper classes was more complicated than one might first expect. Whilst there certainly was a strong, negative reaction against the Sophists from the conservative upper classes in Athens, a number of rich citizens – including the richest of all – seem to have given them considerable support. Callias, in Plato’s Protagoras, for instance, seems to have welcomed the Sophists into his home (315D-316A). Though the account given may be thought to be fictional, we do also hear in the Apology (20a) that Callias "spent more money on Sophists than everyone else put together", and Xenophon’s Symposium (I.3) further confirms this. Plato’s Lesser Hippias takes place in the house of Eudicus, and in the Republic we see Thrasymachus ensconced in the home of the rich metic Cephalus. So a number of upper class citizens appear to have housed the Sophists during their sojourns in Athens, and this would suggest that certain rich citizens did not dislike them in any way whatever. We hear in Plutarch (Life of Pericles ch.36) that Pericles had conversed with Protagoras, and further, we are told that Pericles actually invited Protagoras to draw up a constitution for the Athenian colony at Thurii. (Diodorus 12.10; Diogenes Laertius Lives of the Philosophers IX 50). From Plato’s Symposium (198c) we can see that Gorgias’ style of rhetoric had an influence on the tragic poet Agathon; this is further confirmed in Philostratus (Lives of the Sophists I 9, 492-3) who also tells us that Gorgias enthralled Critias, Alcibiades and Pericles and amongst other "illustrious men". From Plato’s Thaetetus (162a) we can see that the prominent geometrician, Theodorus, had associated with Protagoras, describing him as "my friend", to Socrates. The historian Thucydides heaps praise upon the sophist Antiphon, describing him as a "man second to none among the Athenians of his time in ability" (8.68), indeed we even hear that the man was once Thucydides’ teacher (Suda, s.v. Antiphon; Pseudo-Plutarch Lives of the ten orators 832B-834B), and perhaps the fact that Thucydides pays little heed to religious or superstitious forces in history is, in this respect, no coincidence. Lines in the tragic poet Euripides’ play, Hecuba (799ff) might imply that the he adopted some of the Sophists’ ideas on religion, and, whilst one might initially assume that the words he gives his characters do not necessarily correspond with his own views, we further hear that he was a pupil of Prodicus (Aulus Gellius Attic Nights XV 20, 4), and the fact that he was indicted by Cleon for impiety must count for something. It is also significant that the Sophists published handbooks and treatises on their teachings (Cicero Brutus 46-7; also Aristophanes’ Birds 880 for reference to a book by Thrasymachus): for it can surely only have been the rich who could afford such items. The same could be said for the Sophists’ teaching in general – they had no trouble finding pupils to pay their fees, and by all accounts, these fees were most steep.

It seems, then, that the view of the Athenian upper classes towards the Sophists was ambivalent. The conservative rich, represented by figures such as Aristophanes, Anytus and Laches viewed them with disdain. In their eyes, the Sophists represented all that was decadent in Athens – the breakdown of morality and tradition, the decline of the old important families in face of growing social mobility and the corruption of the young. On the other hand, though, there were a fair number of prominent citizens who were quite receptive to their ideas, and were less held back by the bounds of tradition and custom. These included, above all perhaps, those who were comparatively new to wealth – those who were rich but not "aristocratic", and therefore not privy to the gifts of aréte that the more conservative might possess. It is also probably not mere coincidence that many of those who were involved with artistic innovation often sided with the Sophists – Agathon and especially Euripides might here be cases in point. The Athenian upper classes, in terms of their reaction towards the Sophists can, then, be divided broadly into two groups: the conservative, traditional upper classes who viewed them with scorn, and the more modern amongst the rich, who welcomed their fresh ideas and skills. In many respects this divergence of opinion reflects a wider fragmentation in the nature of the Athenian class structure, namely that wealth and prestigious lineage were no longer necessarily coexistent.

It is particularly difficult to discern any distinctive Athenian "middle-class" from our sources. In many ways the non-conservative upper classes could be conceived as "middle class", in the sense that they lacked the notable heritage of many conservatives. As for the remainder of the middle class, to some extent it might be assumed that their reaction to the Sophists would be the same as that of the average citizen. However we can go at least some way towards outlining some particular differences between the two. Strepsiades, in Aristophanes’ Clouds - who doesn’t appear to be poor, yet is not rich enough to be without debt - may represent a satirical portrayal of a middle-class view. He seems to have some pretentious aspirations to learning the Sophists’ teachings, yet lacks the perspicacity to adequately grasp much of it, and only really seems interested in learning rhetoric in order to gain the elocution sufficient to serve his expediency. Perhaps this is indicative of some middle-classes attempting to appropriate aspects of sophism in order to seem, well, sophisticated. On the other hand, it really shouldn’t be given too much credence, as the character Strepsiades is clearly an object of satire. Nonetheless, in Xenophon’s Memoirs of Socrates (4.2) we hear of a certain Euthydemus3, the owner of a saddler’s shop, who collected "many writings of the best-known poets and sophists". He seems to have shared some of Strepsiades’ aspirations – Xenophon claiming he "entertained high hopes of becoming unrivalled in eloquence and administrative ability" – and, judging by Socrates’ harsh criticism of his pretensions, appears to have shared his shortcomings4. It may have been the case, then, that where the middle class differed from the ordinary citizenry was in the tendency for some of its number to pretentiously pursue aspects of sophism, and perhaps they also, in particular, resented the expense of the Sophist’s services, which would have been in the most part out of their reach.

 

As for the reaction of the demos, the problems with our sources are especially evident – not only are our sources few and far between, but they all come from members of the upper classes, and hence will invariably be somewhat "out of touch" with popular opinion. In the case of Plato this problem is particularly pronounced, for he often seeks to portray the Sophists, corruption, moral and social decay as a single whole and as an inevitable secondary product of democracy, which he resolutely considers to be a universal "bad". An interesting passage in the Republic (493a) reveals this quite clearly:

"Not one of those paid private teachers, whom the people call Sophists and consider to be their rivals in craft, teaches anything other than the conviction that the majority expresses when they are gathered together. This is what he claims as his wisdom."

Despite this, it is at least possible to establish a broad, if somewhat vague, picture of what the everyday Athenian would have thought about the Sophists, with a little inference made from evidence on the basis of plausibility.

As we have seen, Plato, in some respects, considered the Sophists to be the intrinsic allies of the common Athenians, insofar as they were logical by-products of the wider Athenian people through their democracy. There is certainly a fair amount of evidence to back-up this claim. Many accounts say that Gorgias, on his first visit to Athens on embassy from Leontini, enthralled the populace. Philostratus (Lives of the Sophists I, 9, 492-3) says that he was "admired by the masses" on this occasion. Diodorus of Sicily (Universal History XII 53, 1-5) states that he "astonished the Athenians" and "gained admiration", and we hear the same from Dionysius of Halicarnassus (Life of Lysias 3) (although both these two sources derive from the late fourth-century BCE Sicilian historian Timaeus of Tauromenium). Though these sources might be thought to be dubious on there own, the fact that Gorgias did succeed in convincing the Athenians to his cause has to count for something, and Pausanias (Guide to Greece VI, 17, 7-9) further affirms that "Gorgias won even more respect than Teisias at Athens". Protagoras, likewise, appears to have been fairly popular, described in Plato (Protagoras 311a) by Hippocrates as "such a celebrity". Prodicus, apparently (Hippias Major 282c), "gained himself a good reputation".

But the reaction of the average Athenian citizen towards the Sophists, like that of the upper classes, was far from entirely positive. In Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War (3.38.7), Cleon, in a moment of anger, accusers the demos of being "more like the audience of a sophist than the government of a city". Whether or not these were his actual words isn’t really important; what matters here is that Thucydides is portraying a situation that is at least plausibly could have occurred, and in which the citizens of the Assembly would have readily recognised the term "sophist" to be pejorative. Pericles’ associations aside, apparently many politicians were well aware of the negative connotations which the term "sophist" provoked in the minds of the many. Also from Thucydides, (8.68) we are told that Antiphon was "regarded with suspicion by the mass of people because of his reputation for cleverness". In Plato’s Phaedrus (257d), Phaedrus says "politicians are ashamed to compose speeches or leave any writings behind; they are afraid that in later times they may come to be known as sophists". When asked in Plato’s Protagoras (312a) if he would be ashamed to present himself to the Greek world as a sophist, Hippocrates is forced to concede "Yes, I would, Socrates, to be perfectly honest". In Euthyphro (3c) Socrates remarks that to the Athenians it does not matter if they think someone deinos provided he keeps it to himself, but if he starts imparting his cleverness they get angry. Also in the Republic (492a) it is said that the general opinion is "that certain young people are actually corrupted by sophists". So if many Athenians did, at first, admire certain sophists, the word later on, at least, came to have negative connotations.

By representing his own tendentious viewpoint, Aristophanes may have used his comedy Clouds as a means to subtly influence the views of the Athenians. But this objective would undoubtedly have to be tempered by the, to him, more important goal of gaining fame and prestige. As such, the play must have, in some way sought to reflect the views and prejudices and views of everyday Athenians, and this view towards the Sophists is certainly harsh (lines 830,835, 330, for example). However not too much weight should be given to this as evidence for the opinion of the masses – the Athenians were not always averse to making fun of those they respected (take Cleon in Knights, for instance) and anyway, the Clouds was not very popular at all at the time. Yet the play, if nothing else, reveals the confusion with which many in Athens assumed Socrates to be a sophist. With this in mind, Socrates’ trial and conviction can actually be construed as evidence for reaction against sophism5. Socrates himself clearly acknowledges the fact that many jurors did not like Sophism, he tries hard to distinguish himself from supposedly undesirable traits such as the claim to "makes the worse argument the stronger" (Apology 18c) and to charge fees for teaching(19d). He also tries especially hard (23d) to distance himself from the Sophists’ sceptical stances on religion.

The Athenians appear to have reacted particularly strongly against the Sophists’ religious views. According to Heyschius of Alexandria (Scholia on Plato Republic 600c), Protagoras’ book On the Gods was "burned by the Athenians". We hear this, and that he was actually expelled from Athens for the same reason from Diogenes Laertius (Lives of the Philosophers IX 51-2) and Philostratus (Lives of the Sophists I 10) claims he was "driven out from the whole earth by the Athenians". There is some reason to doubt these events, however. Not only are all three sources making the claim reporting significantly after the events occurred (Heyschius is 6th century AD, for instance) but in Plato’s Meno, (91e) which takes place in the late fifth century, Socrates says Protagoras "right up to this very day, has never stopped being thought well of" – although Socrates may have glossed over the above unpalatable facts, one would expect Anytus, at least, to allude to them6. Whatever the case, the severity of Athenians’ reaction to religious opposition can be further seen in Plutarch (Nicias 23; Pericles 32), and the fate of Anaxagoras. Anaxagoras was not, strictly speaking, a sophist; although, as with Socrates, the fact that many Athenians perceived him to be so is of greater importance. Though he was acquitted for his "crimes" on account of Pericles’ persuasion, he nevertheless had to retire from Athens to Lamsacus.

The Athenian people may have, later on, opposed the Sophists for their perceived association with the oligarchic movement in the late fifth century. It is hardly true that the Sophists and the oligarchies were closely related, in fact the Thirty Tyrants banned the teaching of the Sophists’ principal speciality – rhetoric. Nonetheless, it seems that many Athenians did consider there to be a link between Sophism and the oligarchic movement, and there are several reasons for this being the case. According to Thucydides (8.68), "the individual who put together the whole project [the rule of the five-thousand] so as to bring it to fruition…was Antiphon." The Athenian Constitution (32.2) corroborates this, claiming that "the oligarchy was set up...the chief movers being Peisander, Antiphon and Theramenes". Athenaeus’ Deipnosophistae (V 220b) says that "Prodicus was to blame for his pupil Theramenes7". Critias, reputedly the most despotic of the "Thirty Tyrants" and also involved with both the oligarchy of the Four-hundred and the mutilation of the hermae may well have also been associated with sophism. Philostratus feels that he can accurately call him "Critias the Sophist" in his Lives of the Sophists (I. 16) and he may have been linked to Gorgias (Philostratus Letters 73) and Antiphon (Hermogenes, On types of style B401, 25). Whether or not these sources are entirely accurate in their information isn’t necessarily too important, the link they seem to have perceived between oligarchy and sophism must have been a fairly prevailing view for them to give it mention. If sophism would associated with oligarchy most Athenians would have considered it to be an inimical movement towards their state.

The view of the average Athenian in respect towards the Sophists, like that of the upper classes, appears to have been quite complicated. Some sources suggest that they lauded the Sophists and their efforts, particularly in the case of Gorgias; others imply that they disliked sophism and viewed its effect as pernicious. As in the case with the upper classes, this may, in part, be due to the fact that average citizens, whilst economically comparable, differed in their social views. However unlike the case of the upper classes, the reaction of the average citizens appears to have altered gradually over time. Early on the Athenians seem to have admired the rhetorical skill of figures such as Gorgias and Protagoras – later on, though, sophism came to be associated with corruption, "empty" eristic rhetoric, religious scepticism, the oligarchic movements and probably Athens’ decline in general.

The Athenian reaction to the Sophists and their ideas was, then, quite mixed. The upper classes can be very roughly divided between the conservative rich and the more progressive, less aristocratic sort. The former seems to have been opposed to sophism outright, as it represented a threat to their traditional values, and purported to challenge their claim to have a monopoly on virtue, or aréte. The latter seem to have been more receptive to he Sophists’ ideas, and may have welcomed their teaching as a means to secure their own social and political advancement. Perhaps the lower band of this second type could have been classed with the "middle class", which otherwise seems to have reacted either by having some unfulfilled pretensions to pursue the Sophists’ ideas, or by reacting in a manner similar to the ordinary citizenry. The reaction of average Athenian citizens was somewhat ambivalent, but broadly seems to have gone from admiration to despise over the course of the second half of the 5th century BCE. In particular, religious believers and religious groups appear to have opposed the Sophists. As for the women, the slaves and the metics in Athenian society, we really cannot say.

 

Notes

1. Aristophanes’ Clouds (960) gives some evidence for general conservative view that Athens was in decay and had passed her "Golden age". Such a view would have been consistent with contemporaneous events, such as the war with Sparta (which would have brought ruin for the rich more than most), the potential growth in power of those with wealth but without "proper" birth and the change in tragedy from the high and noble themes of Aeschylus to the adultery, incest and deceit of Euripides.

2. That Isocrates would have been lumped with the Sophists seems likely. He was a former pupil of Gorgias and continued his rhetorical style, and he had married the daughter of the sophist Hippias.

3. This is not, incidentally, the sophist Eutydemus mentioned in Plato’s dialogue of that name.

4. It could perhaps be argued that the criticism Socrates levels at this Euthydemus is not because of his incompetence, lack of wisdom or intelligence per se, but rather because he chooses to pursue the Sophists’ ideas in particular. However Socrates, even when disagreeing with sophistic ideas, normally tends to treat them with at least ironic respect.

5. Again, this shouldn’t be given too much importance, as there were certainly many other reasons for Socrates’ trial and conviction besides his association with Sophism.

6. On the other hand, the maintenance of Protagoras’ high reputation might not, in Plato’s eyes, be inconsistent with his trial and conviction. He would have said the same about Socrates.

7. Theramenes was an oligarch involved with the Thirty Tyrants.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Constantine XI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-May-2008 at 05:39
An old thread, but I found this a very interesting read. Thanks for that!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-May-2008 at 16:44
Nice read indeed.

I wonder if we can post this to the Main Site?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aster Thrax Eupator Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-May-2008 at 01:48
Sterling stuff Monkeydust! Well you've certainly made an impression with your first post, I have to tell you! This shows a serious commitment and massive amount of reading - well done! All I know of these orators is what I've learnt of their ausonian cousins from Jermoe Carcopino's "daily life in ancient Rome", and Plato's scolding attacks upon them in "the republic" section VII. I've always found it odd how people can use the word "sophist" to apply to a lcohesive, arge amount of people - surely it's actually a generic term used to apply to those who are proficient in rhetorical devices and public speaking?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kevin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-May-2008 at 22:25
Originally posted by rider rider wrote:

Nice read indeed.

I wonder if we can post this to the Main Site?


To expand on Rider's point, if this is your own work feel free to contribute it to the Main Site if you are unsure on how to do so feel free to ask your friendly forum editor on how to do so!Smile


Edited by Kevin - 05-May-2008 at 22:25
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-May-2008 at 18:42
The person last visited us more than two years ago. That's why I asked you guys and not him directly...
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