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SOPHISTS 100.00%
Properly a name given by the Greeks to all those who professed knowledge, or a particular knowledge or a particular art. Hence the Seven Wise Men are often thus called; but the name was especially applied to the educated men of ready speech, who, from about the year 450 B.C., used to travel through Greece from place to place, and imparted what they knew for money. They have the merit of having popularized the interest in knowledge which had up to that time been confined within narrow circles, and especially of having contributed to the formation of eloquence. For they were the first to make style an object of study, and to institute serious investigations into the art of rhetorical expression. Their teaching was chiefly intended to give their pupils versatility in the use of speech, and thus to fit them for taking part in public life. As the subject of their discourses, they chose by preference questions of public interest to persons of general education. The expression, however, always remained the important thing, while positive knowledge fell more and more into the background. Some of them even started from the position, that virtue and knowledge were only subjective notions. Protagoras of Abdera, who appeared about 445 B.C., is named as the first Sophist; after him the most important is Gorgias of Leontini; Prodicus of Ceos and Hippias of Elis are contemporaries of the other two. Wherever they appeared, especially in Athens, they were received with the greatest enthusiasm, and many flocked to hear them. Even such men as Pericles, Euripides, and Socrates sought their society; and Socrates owed to them much that was suggestive in his own pursuit of practical philosophy, though, on the other hand, he persistently attacked the principles underlying their public teaching. These principles became further exaggerated under their successors who did not think they needed even knowledge of fact to talk as they pleased about everything. Accordingly the skill of the Sophist degenerated into mere technicalities and complete absence of reason, and became absolutely contemptible. (<italisc>See Grote's History of Greece, chap. lxvii, and Dr. H. Sidgwick's essay in the Journal of Philology, iv 288.) With the revival of Greek eloquence, from about the beginning of the 2nd century A.D., the name of Sophist attained a now distinction. At that time the name was given to the professional orators, who appeared in public with great pomp and delivered declamations either prepared beforehand or improvised on the spot. Like the earlier Sophists, they went generally from place to place, and were overwhelmed with applause and with marks of distinction by their contemporaries, including even the Roman emperors. Dion Chrysostom, Herodes Atticus, Aristides, Lucian, and Philostratus the elder, belong to the flourishing period of this second school of Sophists, a period which extends over the whole of the 2nd century. They appear afresh about the middle of the 4th century devoting their philosophic culture to the zealous but unavailing defence of paganism. Among them was the emperor Julian and his contemporaries Libanius, Himerius, and Themistius. Synesius may be considered as the last Sophist of importance.
TIMAEUS 100.00%
A Sophist, probably born 3 A.D. He compiled a Platonic dictionary, a part of which is still extant.
A Greek Sophist, who lived in the second half of the 3rd century A.D. in Bithynia; author of a Selection of Attic Verbs and Nouns, compiled with great strictness in the exclusion of all but the best Attic forms. We have also notable excerpts from a work of his in thirty-seven books, dedicated to the emperor Commodus, and entitled the Sophistic Armoury (Parasceue). It was founded on the most comprehensive learning, and designed to supply the orator with everything necessary for good and pure expression. The arrangement is alphabetical, and it includes examples from the best authors, the different styles being carefully distinguished.
A Greek Sophist of Antioch, who lived at Rome as teacher of rhetoric in the first half of the 2nd century B.C., and availing himself of the works of earlier writers, made a collection of proverbs, still extant in an abridged form.
Apollonius the Sophist, of Alexandria. His precise date A.D. is unknown. He was author of an extant Lexicon of Homeric Glosses, based on Apion's lost glossarial writings.
Flavius Philostratusthe elder, a Greek Sophist, of Lemnos, son of a celebrated Sophist of the same name. He taught first in Athens, then at Rome till the middle of the 3rd century A.D. By order of his great patroness Julia Domna, the learned wife of the emperor Septimius Severus, he wrote (a) the romantic Life of Apollonius of Tyana. Besides this we have by him (b) a work entitled Heroicus, consisting of mythical histories of the heroes of the Trojan War in the form of a dialogue, designed to call back to life the expiring popular religion. (c) Lives of the Sophists, in two books, the first dealing with twenty-six philosophers, the second with thirty-three rhetoricians of earlier as well as later times, a work important for the history of Greek culture, especially during the imperial age. (d) Seventythree letters, partly amatory in subject. (e) A fragment of a work intended to revive interest in the old Gymnastic. Lastly (f), the Imagines in two books, being descriptions of sixty-six paintings on all possible subjects. Of these it is doubtful whether, as he pretends, they really belonged to a gallery at Naples (a statement accepted by Brunn Kunstlergeschichte, ii 178; Jahrb. f. Philol. Supplementband 4, 179 pp. and 1871]; or whether their subjects were invented by himself [as maintained by Friederichs, Die Philostratischen Bilder, 1860; and Matz, De Philostratorum in Describendis Imaginibus Fide, 1867]. Like all his writings, this work is skilful and pleasing in its manner, and the interest of its topic makes it particularly attractive. It is not so much designed to incite to the study of works of art, as to exhibit the art of painting in a totally now field; and herein he is followed both by his grandson and namesake, and by Callistratus (q.v.).
A Greek sophist of Lampsacus, a favourite of Philip of Macedon and Alexander the Great. He composed orations and historical works, some treating of the actions of those two princes. Of these but little remains. On the other hand, he is the author of the Rhetoric dedicated to Alexander, the earliest extant work of this kind, which was once included among the works of Aristotle.
A Greek rhetorician, of Laodicea, who probably lived at the end of the 3rd century after Christ. He is the author of two treatises About Speeches for Display, which add to our knowledge of the theory of the sophistic type of oratory [in Spengel's Rhetores Groeci, iii 331-446].
A Greek Sophist, born at Miletus in the second half of the 5th century B.C. He was the first inventor of a system of laying out towns on geometrical principles. This was carried out, under his direction, in the laying out of the Piraeus, the harbour-town of Athens, and also at the building of Thurii (B.C. 444) and of Rhodes (408); it was also used in subsequent times in the foundation of new towns.
HIPPIAS 50.06%
A Greek Sophist of Elis and a contemporary of Socrates. He taught in the towns of Greece, especially at Athens. He had the advantage of a prodigious memory, and was deeply versed in all the learning of his day. He attempted literature in every form which was then extant. He also made the first attempt in the composition of dialogues. In the two Platonic dialogues named after him, he is represented as excessively vain and arrogant.
The infamous tyrant of Agrigentum, notorious for his cruelty; he died 549 B.C. His name is affixed to 148 Greek letters, in which he appears as a gentle ruler, and a patron of art and poetry; but [as proved in Bentley's Dissertation in 1699], they are really a worthless forgery, probably by a Sophist of the 2nd century A.D.
A Greek rhetorician, born at Sardis in 347 A.D. In 405 he wrote biographies of twenty-three older and contemporary philosophers and sophists. In spite of its bad style and its superficiality, this book is our chief authority for the history of the Neo-Platonism of that age. We have also several fragments of his continuation of the chronicle of Herennius Dexippus. This continuation, in fourteen books, covered the period from 268 to 404 A.D., and was much used by Zosimus.
GORGLAS 43.46%
A Greek sopbist and rhetorician, a native of Leontini in Sicily. In 427 B.C., when already advanced in years, he came to Athens on an embassy from his native city, to implore aid against the Syracusans. The finished style of his speaking excited general admiration. He was successful in the object of his mission, and immediately returned home. But he soon came back to Athens, which he made his headquarters, travelling through Greece, like the other Sophists, and winning much popularity and emolument from a large number of disciples. He survived Socrates, who died in 399, and ended his days at Larissa in Thessaly in his hundredth year. His philosophy was a nihilistic system, which he summed up in three propositions: (a) nothing exists; (b) if anything existed, it could not be known; (c) did anything exist, and could it be known, it could not be communicated. Ile declined to assume the name of Sophist, preferring that of rhetorician. He professed to teach not virtue, but the art of persuasion; in other words, to give his disciples such absolute readiness in speaking, that they should be able to convince their hearers independently of any knowledge of the subject. He did not found his instruction on any definite rhetorical system, but gave his pupils standard passages of literature to learn by art and imitate, practising them in the application of rhetorical figures. He appeared in person, on various occasions, at Delphi, Olympia, and Athens, with model speeches which he afterwards published. It must not be forgotten that it was Gorgias who transplanted rhetoric to Greece, its proper soil, and who helped to diffuse the Attic dialect as the literary language of prose. Two highly rhetorical exercises, the genuineness of which is doubtful, have come down to us under his name, the Encomium of Helen, and the Defence of Palamedes against the charge of high treason brought against him by Odysseus.
Claudius Aelianus, called the Sophist, a Roman of Praeneste, who wrote in Greek, lived at Rome in the 2nd century A.D. as teacher of rhetoric. His surviving works are: (1) 20 insignificant Peasants' Letters, so called because attributed to Attic peasants; (2) Variae Historiae or miscellanies, in 14 books, some preserved only in extracts, and (3) De Natura Animalium. The two last-mentioned are copious and valuable collections of all kinds of curiosities in human and animal life, mostly taken from earlier writings now lost.
A Greek rhetorician of Elaea in Aeo1is, pupil and successor of Gorgias, a contemporary and opponent of Isocrates. Two declamations, bearing his name, have come down to us, one an imaginary indictment of Palamedes by Odysseus, the other a speech on the Sophists; but the latter only can with any probability be attributed to him. It is a cleverly written argument, intended to show that the culmination of rhetorical training consists in the power of speaking extempore on any subject from mere notes of the arrangement; not the practice of carefully writing out speeches, and then learning them by heart for public delivery.
A Greek Sophist of Ceos, contemporary with Socrates. He repeatedly visited Athens as an ambassador from his native country. The applause which his speeches gained there induced him to come forward as a rhetorician. In his lectures on literary style he laid chief stress on the right use of words and the accurate discrimination between synonyms, and thereby paved the way for the dialectic discussions of Socrates. None of his lectures have come down to us in their original form. We have the substance only of his celebrated fable of the Choice of Heracles [preserved by Xenophon, Memorabilia, ii §§ 21-34).
APION 36.50%
A Greek grammarian of the 1st century A.D., a pupil of Didymus, and president of the philological school at Alexandria. He also worked for a time at Rome under Tiberius and Claudius. A vain, boastful man, he travelled about the Greek cities, giving popular lectures on Homer. Of his many writings we have only fragments left. The glosses on Homer that bear his name are of later origin; on the other hand, the Homeric lexicon of the sophist Apollonius is based on his genuine Homeric glosses. His bitter complaint, Against the Jews, addressed to Caligula at the instace of the Alexandrians, is best known from Josephus' noble reply to it.
A Greek Sophist of Abdera, born about 480 B.C. He passed some forty years in travelling through the different towns of Greece as a teacher, but stayed chiefly at Athens. There he was highly honoured on account of his learning, especially by Pericles, until he was expelled for atheistical statements in a treatise On the Gods, and his works were publicly burnt. He died at the age of 70. His teaching was chiefly directed to the exposition of grammar and rhetoric. In his philosophical views he followed Heraclitus, transferring the teaching of the latter, on the eternal flux of matter to human knowledge, which, as he thought, was merely a subjective and relative, not an objective and absolute truth. This is the point of his celebrated proposition, "Man is the measure of all things: of those which are, that they are ; of those which are not, that they are not" [Plato, Thecetetus, 152; Diogenes Laertins, ix 51.]
AGATHON 34.02%
A tragic poet of Athens, born B.C. 448, a friend of Euripides and Plato, universally celebrated for his beauty and refined culture. The banquet he gave in honour of his dramatic victory of B.C. 417 is immortalized in Plato's Symposion. He was, together with Euripides, at the court of Archelaus, king of Macedonia, and probably died there about B.C. 402. He appears to have carried still further the rhetorical manner of Euripides, adopting entirely the views of the sophist Gorgias; and his namby-pamby style is ridiculed by Aristophanes. On the stage he introduced several innovations: he was the first to make the chorus a mere intermezzo, having nothing to do with the action, and in his tragedy of Anthos (=flower) he invented both characters and plot for himself, instead of resorting to old myths.
A Greek writer of romance, born at Emesa in Phoenicia. He was a pagan Sophist, who probably flourished in the second half of the 3rd century A.D. At one time he was erroneously identified with another Heliodorus, bishop of Tricca in Thessaly, who flourished about 390 A.D. A romance of his called Aethiopica, in ten books, has come down to us. Its subject is the strange story of Theagenes the Thessalian and Chariclea, the daughter of the king of Aethiopia. This book served as a model for most of the later Greek writers of romance, and may be classed with the novel of Longus as one of the best specimens of this kind of literature which Greek antiquity has to show. It is remarkable for original power, clear sketches of character, beauty of drawing, and moral intention; the style is pure, simple, and elegant.
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