A new understanding of sophistic rhetoric

A new understanding of sophistic rhetoric

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A new understanding of sophistic rhetoric a translation, with commentary, of Mario Untersteiner's "Le origini sociali della sofistica"
LoFaro, Elisabeth
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[Tampa, Fla]
University of South Florida
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Social theory
Dissertations, Academic -- English -- Doctoral -- USF ( lcsh )
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ABSTRACT: This dissertation translates an essay by Mario Untersteiner "Le origini sociali della sofistica" ("The Social Origins of Sophistry") unpublished in English, and explores its significance in terms of classical and contemporary rhetorical theory, as well as the composition classroom. In the process, I attempt to contribute to reestablishing sophistry and rhetoric within our contemporary cultural milieu. More specifically, the dissertation is organized into five main parts: The first chapter offers an introduction to and thorough background of the sophists in ancient and classical Greece; the second chapter reviews the scholarship about the sophists, as well as that on Mario Untersteiner and his "Le origini," exploring the commonly known difficulties of translation. Chapter three provides my translation of the complete essay, while chapter four presents my interpretation of the most salient issues in the essay and their importance to classical rhetorical theory. The concluding chapter presents my conclusions and relates my findings to the composition classroom, the university, and society at large, arguing for the reintegration of certain sophistical rhetorical theories and practices.
Dissertation (Ph.D.)--University of South Florida, 2009.
Includes bibliographical references.
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by Elisabeth LoFaro.

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A new understanding of sophistic rhetoric :
b a translation, with commentary, of Mario Untersteiner's "Le origini sociali della sofistica"
h [electronic resource] /
by Elisabeth LoFaro.
[Tampa, Fla] :
University of South Florida,
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 198 pages.
Includes vita.
Dissertation (Ph.D.)--University of South Florida, 2009.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic dissertation) in PDF format.
3 520
ABSTRACT: This dissertation translates an essay by Mario Untersteiner "Le origini sociali della sofistica" ("The Social Origins of Sophistry") unpublished in English, and explores its significance in terms of classical and contemporary rhetorical theory, as well as the composition classroom. In the process, I attempt to contribute to reestablishing sophistry and rhetoric within our contemporary cultural milieu. More specifically, the dissertation is organized into five main parts: The first chapter offers an introduction to and thorough background of the sophists in ancient and classical Greece; the second chapter reviews the scholarship about the sophists, as well as that on Mario Untersteiner and his "Le origini," exploring the commonly known difficulties of translation. Chapter three provides my translation of the complete essay, while chapter four presents my interpretation of the most salient issues in the essay and their importance to classical rhetorical theory. The concluding chapter presents my conclusions and relates my findings to the composition classroom, the university, and society at large, arguing for the reintegration of certain sophistical rhetorical theories and practices.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
Advisor: Phillip Sipiora, Ph.D.
Social theory
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Dissertations, Academic
x English
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u http://digital.lib.usf.edu/?e14.3257


A New Understanding of Sophistic Rhetoric: A Translation, with Commentary, of Mario Le origini sociali della sofistica by Elisabeth LoFaro A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Department of English College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Major Professor: Phillip Sipiora, Ph.D. Meredith Zoetewey, Ph.D. Patrizia LaTrecchia, Ph.D. Fraser Ottanelli, Ph.D. Date of Approval: November 6, 2009 K e ywords: sophistry composition, democracy, social theory, sophists Copyright 200 9 Elisabeth LoFaro


Dedication To my father who did not live to see this day but told me the last time I saw him to finish what I started and without whom I wo uld have never spoken English in the first place. I know that he is watching over my shoulder as I write these words. I love you, dad. Thank you for trying your hardest to give me more than everything.


Acknowledgements I want to thank Profess or Phillip Sipiora. From the moment he picked me up at the airport ten years ago to when he helped me get my academic life back on track, I could not have asked for a better mentor. He is an inspiration and model who will always hold a sacred place in my m ind and heart. Thanks also to my committee members: Professor Meredith Zoeteway for clarifying those parts of the process that no one else could; Professor Patrizia LaTrecchia for her support, direction, and guidance, as well as her invaluable suggestion s; Professor Fraser Ottanelli for all the time he spent helping me translate the most convoluted Italian, as well as reminding me of my home country. I would also like to thank Professor Vi ctor Peppard for always having a moment for me, being so energizing and supportive and reconnecting me to my culture by allowing me to teach Italian for his department I also want to thank my friends and colleagues for believing in and supporting me even when I did not. Special thanks to Professor Laura Runge for figh ting to keep my assistantship and offering the most firm yet understanding support Professor Rosalie Baum for providing the most amazing conversations and offering her encouragement throughout my graduate education, and Professor Deats for sharing her kno wledge and


being an inspiration Thank you also to Professor Hippocrates Kantzios for helping me with the Greek terms, allowing me to sit in his Beginning Classical Greek course and being an invaluable source of knowledge and enthusiasm My special thanks go to Constance, Shannon, and Keith for their friendship and support throughout the years. I would also like to thank Nancy Morriss, Deedra Hickman, Virginia Zsurka, and Lee Davi d s on not only for everything that they have done for me in all these years an d do for the department but also for always doing so with a smile, brightening those days that were not at all bright. My particular thanks go to Karen, for standing by me through it all, assisting me when I would not leave my desk and being the most sp ecial friend anyone could ask for ; Caren for being the best listen er and talker, as well as walking with me as I found my way back to the person I want to be My thanks also go to Ric for providing such incredible support from across the country being an amazing friend, and reminding me of the person I am. Finally, I thank Sean, for being my husband, Franko, Mark Don, Sharmila, Chris, and everyone I have forgotten for their support throughout the years and their help with moving me (and all my books!) in the midst of everything Perhaps most of all, I want to thank my mother, Giovanna Minerva LoFaro, and my brother, Alessandro LoFaro, for helping me from afar to accomplish my goal s for supporting me not only financially but also emotionally, mentally, an d psychologically, and for valuing my dreams even if it meant not having me there with them. Words cannot express how much I love and miss /ed you.


i Table of Contents Abstract ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................. IV Chapter One: Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 1 Socio Historical Context ................................ ................................ .......................... 4 Development of t he Poleis ................................ ................................ .......... 5 Political Context ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 9 Shift from Aristocracy to Tyranny to Democracy ................................ ..... 10 Cultural Context ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 1 9 Development of Rhetoric and Sophistry ................................ ................................ 2 1 Teaching of Ar te ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 25 Philosophical Context ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 2 6 Presocratics ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 2 6 Sophists ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 3 1 Chapter Two: Literature Review ................................ ................................ ....................... 3 5 The Nineteenth Century Recovery ................................ ................................ ........ 3 6 The Early Twentieth Century ................................ ................................ ................. 39 Le origini sociali della sofistica ................................ ... 53 Chapter Three: ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 5 7 1. The Pentecontaetia as the Age of the Problems Posed by Social Life ............. 5 7


ii 2. The Crisis of the Aristocracy ................................ ................................ .......... 63 a. The Idea of Community and its Gnoseological Consequences ........... 6 3 b. Community and Individual in the Theories of the Sophists ................ 7 8 c. The Relativistic Experience of Aristocratic Society in the Travail for the Reconstruction of Proper I deals ................................ ..................... 8 3 d. The Aporias of the Aristo crats ................................ ............................. 8 8 e. Influence of the A ristocratic C risis ................................ ...................... 90 3. Origins of Sophistic P roblems in the P olitical W ars of the Fifth Century ....... 92 4. War ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 9 5 5. Problems Posed by the Social Engagements of Religion .............................. 100 6. The Problem of Techn ................................ ................................ .................. 107 7. Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 109 Chapter 4: Analysis of T ra nslation ................................ ................................ .................. 1 1 1 Crisis of the Aristocracy ................................ ................................ ........................ 11 8 Sophistical Theories Regarding Community and Individual ................................ 127 Relativistic Experience of an Aristocratic Soc ie ty Seeking to Reconstruct Its Ideals ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 130 The Aristocrats and the Problem of Teaching Virtue ................................ ............ 132 Th e Aristocratic Crisis and Constitutional Conception of Sophistry .................... 134 Sophistic Problems in the Political Struggles in the Fifth Century ....................... 13 4 The War ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 137 Problems Raised by Religion ................................ ................................ ................ 140 The Problem of Techn ................................ ................................ ......................... 145


iii Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 146 Chapter 5: Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 1 47 Pedagogical and R hetorical Value of Sophistry ................................ .................... 148 Current Social Conditions and the (Sophistic) Composition Classroom .............. 15 6 Composition Teachers as Sophists ................................ ................................ ........ 16 7 Works Cited ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 1 75 About the Author ................................ ................................ ................................ ... E n d P a g e


iv A New Understand ing of Sophistic Rhetori c: A Translation, with Commenta ry, of Le origini sociali della sofistica Elisabeth LoFaro ABSTRACT Le origini sociali della sofistica unpublished in English, and explores its significance in terms of classical and cont emporary rhetorical theory, as well as the composition classroom. In the process, I attempt to contribute to reestablishing sophistry and rhetoric within our contemporary c ultural milieu. More specifically, the dissertation is organized into five main parts: T he first chapter offer s an introduction to and thorough background of the sophists in ancient and classical Greece; the second chapter reviews the scholarship about the sophists, as well as that on Mario Untersteiner and his Le origini ing the commonly known difficulties of translation. Chapter three provides my translation of the complete essay, while chapter four present s my interpretation of the most salient issues in the essay and their importance to classical rhetorical theory. The concluding chapter presents my conclusions and relates my findings to the composition classroom the university, and society at large arguing for the reintegration of certain sop histical rhetorical theories and practices.


1 Chapter One Introduction Science, politics, philosophy, drama, literature, architecture a great number of Western Athens a t roughly the same time in which rhetoric and sophistry 1 developed and flourished. The reasons behind this coterminous appearance offer room for speculation, yet some educated conjectures materialize more strongly than others. Social, philosophical, cultur al, and political circumstances not only enabled but also created the conditions for the emergence of sophistry for the sophistic movement responded to a new need in a dynamic, evolving social configuration The sophistic tradition thus emerged 2,500 year s ago in the Mediterranean at a time of ardent fervor and shifts in the organization of human life and Western civilization. This dissertation examines the conditions that engendered this tradition, includ ing a review of the literature to date, a translat i on of a germinal Le origini sociali della sofistica significance in terms of classical and contemporary rhetorical theory with implicati ons in the composition classroom. I attempt to the continuing reassessment of sophistry and 1 Although s ophistry is now often a pejorative term, as it was in Antiquity, I am using the term descriptively rather than evaluatively


2 rhetoric within our contemporary cultural milieu. More specifically, the dissertation is organized into five main parts: the first chapter offers an introduction to and thorough background of the sophists by contextualizing them in archaic Greece; the second chapter reviews the scholarship about the sophists, as well as that on Mario Untersteiner and his Le origini slation. Chapter Three provides my translation of the essay in its entirety, while Chapter Four presents my interpretation of what I deem the most salient issues in the essay in terms of classical rhetorical theory and scholarship. The final chapter presen ts my conclusions by relating my findings to contemporary rhetorical theory, the composition classroom, the university, and society at large. In order to understand the importance of sophistry, one must recognize the circumstances that were in place before and during the time in which sophistry emerged, prior to the social conditions that Mario Untersteiner discusses in his essay. These circumstances allowed sophistry to flourish and within the scholarly and public imagination, even if in a negative manifes tation and despite the pejorative perspectives of I discuss the circumstances leading up to classical Greece, the context historical, cultural, and philosophical manifestations. There is, o f course, inevitable overlap between categories, for any sort of grouping or classification system will reveal complications, inconsistencies, and overlap Definitional categories are inherently somewhat unstable and, to a degree, arbitrary. However, t hey are necessary to organize and present opportunities for analysis In order


3 of the sophists into distinct ( al though constructed categories ) that are not flawless a nd may blur in some places. I include political events and the development of rhetoric within the socio historical section, discuss education in the cultural section, and briefly review the pre Socratics in the philosophical one. Without question, these co uld h ave been arranged differently. Nevertheless, they are necessary for communication and for examines the social conditions in the age that followed promoting the appearance of sophistry. The main events that stimulated radical changes in Greece and created conditions which took place around 600 BCE. These events and changes are important not only for the birth and flourishing of sophistry but also, by extension, of the whole of Western civilization, for the advancements (political and social) of this time laid the foundations of Western thought, even if n ot always for the best, and, continue to be aspirational and inspirational for many individuals By the time the sophists appeared, Athens was a cultural cauldron of activity The arts and sciences were thriving, and a previously unseen inquisitiv eness and suspicion regarding myth, superstition, and custom emerged, as well as a new belief in progress and the potential of human beings. The literary arts, oratory, and rhetoric flourished in response to contemporary needs. These great, unparalleled accomplishments were the fruit of a number of shifts from earlier ways of thinking, changes that arose out of the events that occurred during the centuries before the Golden Age. Among the most significant socio historical, political, and philosophical eve nts leading up to this Golden Age of the


4 Hellenes were the transformations in the social organization of, between, and for the historical population Socio Historical Context The development of the polis occu rred over a long period of time. F or thousands of years, the Aegean, a small sea in the eastern Mediterranean, hosted many societies first the Aegean civilization in the third millennium BCE, then the Minoan, and finally the Mycenaean in the subsequent t housand years. These societies leave records of their cultures in the oral myths of Homer. One significant change occurred when the few kingdoms that ruled Greece in the second millennium BCE, known as the Mycenaean Age, ended suddenly in 1200 BCE. A period of deep economic and cultural cutbacks accompa nied by a decline in population that lasted for 350 years ensued after this time and came to be known as the Dark Ages, from roughly 1200 BCE to 800 BCE. Historians argue that, in these conditions, the necessary component of Greek life was the self suffici ent farming villages, ruled by basileis a term that approximates the word poleis were to emerge in the eight century BCE (Nagle & Burstein 2). At this time, Greece divided into small co mmunities that shifted from being controlled by basileis to being under aristocratic rule by 700 BCE. Only kings and holy seers were allowed to spea k in this political landscape. Homer offers an example of this trend in Book 2 of the Iliad when common so ldier Thersites attempts to address an assembly of the Greek army and asks what would today be considered a plausible and


5 i n Robinson 22). Homer shows Thersit es as ridiculed and silenced (Wooodruff and Gagarin x, Robinson S 22). At this time, only people of higher classes were considered competent to speak and make the time also show a similar situation in a pastoral se tting. Kings had all the power, and justice remained arbitrary and fragile (Wooodruff and Gagarin xi). Development of the poleis The greatest changes concerning every feature of Greek life took place from the eighth to the sixth century BCE, the period im mediately preceding the emergence of sophistry and the Golden Age of Athens. At this time, a civilization began to emerge whose existence was recorded in much greater detail than ever before. From the eight h century forward small independent city states or poleis developed out of self sufficient farming villages around the Aegean. Historical data regarding the actual dates of the development of the poleis is scarce until sixth century Athens, which was among the later poleis to develop, but the work of p olitical anthropologists investigating the evolution of poleis dates them after the Dark Ages. These Aegean states, such as Corinth, Argos, Thebes, Sparta, and Athens, were societies of farmers and craftsmen. Many of them were isolated by mountains, yet th e inhabitants developed abilities as seamen, abilities that enabled trade. The trade links they established with each other and with peoples from the Near East, the Western Mediterranean, and beyond enabled these poleis or city states to grow prosperous on trade. Although independent and autonomous, the people of these city states began to develop a common national identity, and as merchant classes became


6 economically independent A move away from the government by kings began to develop These poleis also brought about the development of constitut ions and codification of laws. A population boost and a dynamic economic growth that had not been witnessed since the second millennium BCE culminated in the creation and spread of currency a development that radi cally changed economic activity (Nagle and Burstein 43). Further, a common language and alphabet came into being around the Aegean. A nation was forming, with religion providing the strongest unifying force, and the poleis were the center of the entire pro cess. Archeological records note that shrines also began to appear around this time. Centers of civic unity, these temples replaced the huts of the earlier part of the eighth century (Starr 39). While this development can be overemphasized, festivals at th ese early sanctuaries drew large masses of people together and held economic functions as well. Polis commonly translates as city state in English. The numerous contemporary definitions of city and state, however, cannot capture the full meaning of polis and even the closest contemporary understanding possible cannot come close to the meaning of this ancient social organization, as is often the case with ancient Greek terms. The polis tanley Burstein point out that the connotations of the two words city and state have little to do with the poleis of ancient Greece. Rather than political institutions, poleis had politai, that is, citizens whose citizenship was passed on by questionable c laims of descent and who both govern and are governed, as Aristotle would later state. For Gagarin and Woodruff, the polis


7 more than its usual translation as polis 1). Philip Manville offers a particularly pointed exploration of the term. Agreeing that the Greek polis meant more than any state o r city state current or historical Manville finds answers in the Politics the treatise in which Aristotle most closely examines the character and qualities of the Greek polis blending of the theoretical and the empirical (38) The encouragement of arte a term with a complex meaning which I will explore throughout the dissertation but that loosely translates to virtue, emerges most prominently and is among the most interesting requisites of the poleis as well as central to t his discussion. For Aristotle, Manville polis exists by nature [and] developed out of simpler forms of society, alliance, the polis is a w harmonizes the functions of its members for their mutual benefit . consisting of rulers and ruled whose final common purpose is the encouragement of excellence ( arte ) 44). To ensure this goal, or justice becomes a fundamental element of the polis and inextricably linked to arte Justice, however, cannot be guaranteed exclusively commitment of the citi zens, a shared belief that the form and processes of the institutions polis had to articulate what is just so as not only to enable but also to encourage the best human qualities to burgeon. Despite


8 quarrels with the sophists regarding nomos, physis, and one basic belief remained regarding the polis poleis marked the beginning of classical Greek culture ( Paideia Vol. 1, 77). The benefits citizens gained through their membership could and were abetted by the services that the sophists provided in Greek poleis as I will discuss below. The Greeks founded hundreds of these totally independent city states in the Mediterran ean and Black Sea basins between the mid eighth and the late sixth century BCE. Of 1500 poleis around the Mediterranean and Black Sea regions, most did not cover areas larger than one hundred square miles and had fewer than one thousand citizens. Founding colonies, however, was an arduous and perilous process what today would be considered a speculative venture that included the risk of death. The impetus behind these hazardous undertakings stemmed in part from the possibilities of accumulating wealth but p erhaps even more so such colonization offered the possibility of a fresh start that differed from the conditions and friction of Archaic Greece. Such feelings and attitudes of optimism and apprehension of the pioneering Greek explorers emerge prominently a lready in the Odyssey (Nagle and Burstein 21). Herodotus also offers accounts of the founding of some poleis for example, in his account of the case of Cyrene. Such colonization obviously promotes a clash between peoples that inevitably leads to the encou nter and spreading of new ideas. As the Greeks sought new arable land and trade prospects, these new ideas entered Greek thought, not always for the best and too often with violent outcomes. Nevertheless, the proliferation of these emerging


9 concepts predic tably produced fertile ground for change and development, out of which the sophists with their inquiring could raise a rich array of questions Political Context A definite power shift also occurred in Greece after the developments of the tenth and ninth centuries BCE. Exact dates are unavailable due to the lack of writing at the time, and the reasons for the shift from aristocracy to democracy are too many to explore in this brief introduction; nonetheless, an adequate preamble is necessary and aligned wi th the scope of this introduction. Once again, Homer offers the first discussions of political thought. Worth quoting at length, Kurt Raaflaub posits that Homer discusses political problems and as a result educates the people: [T]he concerns emphasized by the epic poet . deal with basic problems of life and relationships in a community. The thought devoted to these concerns is political thought. It occupies a remarkably prominent place already in these earliest works of western literature. In keeping w ith the literary and poetic nature of these works, such thought is fully integrated into the narrative and expressed through action and speech. In other words, the poet uses traditional mythical narrative to discuss ethical and negative models of social be havior, by illuminating the causes and consequences of certain actions and relating those to the well being of the community, the poet raises the level of awareness among his listeners, he forces them to think, he educates them. Here then, to say it


10 parado xically, in non political poetry in a prepolitical society, lie the roots of Raaflaub argues that, from its earliest records, Greek thought addressed a great number of issues: the injurious results of clashes within t he leading classes and of reckless actions of the nobility; the ways to avoid such clashes and overcoming them should they occur; the discrepancy between communal and individual interests; the ways to improve and implement justice; the role of the communit y and nobility for outsiders and the socially underprivileged; and the political and moral problems surrounding warfare (34). Such issues were of critical importance to the development and success of the community and remained within Greek thought for cent uries. They also indicate a shift of responsibility from the gods to human agents, who now become accountable for actions and mistakes within society and must, therefore, cogitate and deliberate upon their own actions. The most significant changes within p olitical organization occur when human beings begin to question relations between social classes, formerly thought of as ordained by the gods, setting the stage for the subsequent appearance of the sophists. Shift from Tyranny to Aristocracy to Democracy The eighth century BCE brings yet another change, one of the earliest events that began changing the course of Western civilization. Deference to the dominant elites of past times, elites who did not heretofore have to answer to anyone, began crumbling as these poleis developed throughout Greece (Robinson S. 21 22). The masses of Greeks rather suddenly and consciously rejected absolute authority, a transformation in consciousness


11 that caused a change in power relations (21). This change created a need for rhetorical prowess, as I will discuss in more depth below, for the Greek masses now had to be persuaded by their leaders even while the aristocracy continued to dominate. Already in the worlds represented by Homeric epic poetry, kings and military leaders depended upon their rhetorical dexterity to function smoothly; as the often quoted dictum indicates : Iliad IX). Although the aristocracy had ultimate power over the people, leaders nonetheless had to gain consensus from the masses of Greek farmers, who also comprised the militias. The causes for this alteration in power relations remain concealed behind a lack of written records during the ninth and tenth centuries BCE. Howe ver, what records remain clearly indicate a modification of power from absolute to consensual in the eight century. A stir in socioeconomic/political relationships also took place at this time, and would turn out to be one of the greatest changes in terms of the development s it set into motion. Military service and political privilege were very directly linked until this time, as already evident in the earliest classical Greek history and literature such as Homeric poems. In the Iliad Homer portrays societi gods and claimed that their paramount role in battle held the right to govern their communities (Nagle and Burstein 28). This conne ction between military glory and community leadership, however, dissolved around the seventh century BCE, when the aristocracy, whose members also claimed to be of divine descent, replaced the monarchy. Daniele Vignali, dean of the Istituto Paritario Nobel in Rome, states that aristocratic


12 power was primarily economic and only later did the aristocrats claim themselves as superior based on the virtue of their birth and the possession of ethical virtues connected to their divine descent; he writes that the a la cui potenza era principalmente ed originariamente di carattere economico, si presentarono in un secondo tempo come individui superiori rispetto ai propri concittadini in virt della loro nascita e del possesso di virt etiche legate appunto alla loro presunta discendenza da una stripe divina ([the aristocrats] whose power was primarily and originally of an economic character, presented themselves at a later time as superior individuals compared to their fellow citizens by virtue of their bi rth and possession of ethical virtues tied to their supposed descent from a divine bloodline) (22). This shift in political power soon led to yet another development, between the seventh and sixth centuries BCE, one that saw the imperious economic ascent o f the middling class due to the expansion of mercantile trade and radically changing social conditions (22). Wealth and welfare, formerly extremely circumscribed, broadened. Even the honor of being part of the army and therefore defend the native land, fo rmerly reserved exclusively to the nobles, was granted to anyone who could afford arms for combat due to mutations in military strategy and especially with the institution of the hoplite phalanx, a disciplined heavy infantry (Vignali 22, Nagle and Burstein 29, 43). The development of the hoplites slowly dissolved the supremacy of the cavalry and the aristocrats, who held most of their power because they had the funds for horses. Once the middle class could afford armor and weapons, a sense of community bet ween the leaders and the middle class emerged. While at first these nouveaux riche attempted to integrate with the aristocratic elite, the conditions of aristocratic domination were miserably crumbling.


1 3 Power now hinged on how well a phalanx of hoplites co uld fight together in the interest of the community as a whole. At this stage, the individualism of an Achilles disappeared altogether (Wooodruff and Gagarin xi). Because of their military commitment and wealth, non noble citizens began demanding both poli tical recognition and a written codification of laws that protected them against the arbitrary will of the aristocratic courts and protect the non nobles from the abuse of power of the nobles (Vignali 23). These factors engendered the birth of the first wr itten legislations, particularly those of Solon at the beginning of the sixth century BCE, which essentially formed a timocracy 2 a salient step towards democracy, lightening the pressure of aristocracy over the people. The interests of those who served i n the army a middle class of farmers, artisans, and merchants were of primary importance at this stage. Political reform started to occur, and social classes had to find a neither the aristocracy nor the middling class, creating a political instability that led to the tyranny of Peisistratus and his sons until 510. This tyranny, however, was not able to impede the complex political social process that would bring about the r ise of the first democratic institutions (Vignali 23). The tyranny of Peisistratus was benevolent, for he turned to common Athenians for support, thereby further undermining the hierarchy of aristocrats over commoners that had endured for centuries. Jaege r argues that tyranny was successful when in the hands of a genuinely gifted man such as Peisistratus, who was devoted to the service of the people; 2 A stage of political development in which political and civil honors are distributed according to wealth (Unabridged Webster).


14 for both political and economic motivations (228). Agrarianism accelerated and production soared, finding a ready market with other city states and in the rest of the Mediterranean. Although it inhibited individual initiative and upheld every state action, the tyranny of Peisistratus nonetheless had considerable weight politically, in his words, hrough legislation, an ideal which allowed and even enjoined political toward political arte alter politics in democracy which allowed unprecedented freedom, the Athenians had shown their o minded ruling for very long; the freedoms that Athenians had gained under Peisistratus quickly vanished as a the full blown tyranny of Hippias took over when his brother was murdered. Cleisthenes overturned him, ush ering in a new (democratic) era in which, as with in the Olympic Games, anyone could seize victory and glory. This new ideology, however, made power more unstable, and soon others were conspiring against Cleisthenes. Isagoras, another aristocrat, with the h elp of the Spartans, overturned and banished Cleisthenes and hundreds of others households, establishing an oligarchy. This arrangement did not last long, and for what many deem the first time in recorded history, the ordinary people, after that taste for freedom and self governing, like their mythical heroes, took their destinies into their own hands, turned on their rulers, and seized power for themselves by rising up in revolution. The Athenians turned to Cleisthenes, calling him back from exile; in a se nse, he was to face the remarkable challenge of designing a


15 revolutionary governmental solution for a revolutionary political situation since neither putting a group of aristocrats back into power nor making himself tyrant were options at this point. At t his time, the democratic reforms of Cleisthenes created what many consider the first democratic institutions. The challenge that Cleisthenes faced was how to give his fellow Athenians the say in their future that he knew they now must have. He therefore ha d a great meeting place carved out from the bare rock where citizens of Athens could gather to discuss the future of their state. This place is the ancestor of the British House of Commons, the U.S. Congress, and various parliaments across the world. In th ese forums rich and poor alike could stand and address their fellow citizens. Whereas government had once been decided by strength, Cleisthenes instituted the simple vote a white pebble for yes, and a black pebble for no the rule of the people, a system o f government now known as democracy. The great Athenian assembly would gather every nine days covering the entire administration of the state: from the raising of taxes to the building of roads, from the price of olive s to the declaration of war. The rout e to democracy went from monarchy, aristocracy, timocracy, tyranny, a date usually attributed to the birth of democracy is 507 08 BCE with the reforms of Cleisthenes At that time, Athens, still a tiny city in mainland Greece, saw ordinary people turning on their rule r s and demanding freedom from centuries of oppression. Democracy represented a decisive break from what had preceded it. An originally elitist culture wa s now turned around, and the idea was that even common Greeks who were not aristocratic nor rich could be, as it were, heroes in politics. It was a system of government


16 that would transform this tiny state and stimulate one of the greatest flowerings of ci vilization that the world had ever seen. The fifth century saw a rapid growth of democracy in Greece, with its climax occurring in fifth century Periclean Athens. At this juncture, Sophistry emerged and flourished in Greece, displaying its connection to de mocratic political thought. Several scholars have asserted that the essential qualities of democracy legitimate the rise of sophistry. For example, Daniele Vignali argues that democracy accounts for the rise of sophistry, stating that this form of governm 24). The doctrines of the sophists, he continues, would hardly be comprehensible and explicable if not viewed as a rejoinder to the needs of a novel democrati c society: in his original words La [sic] dottrine dei Sofisti risulterebbero difficilment e comprensibili qualora non fossero considerate come una risposta alle peculiari esigenze poste dalla nuova societ democratic a Greca explore this connection, Vig n ali which could move public opinion determini ng its political vote (25). Rhetorical ability and dialectical skill thus became essential abilities of the ruling class. Drawing on Martin Heidegger and R. Dherbey Gilbert, he underscores the dedication of the sophists to these disciplines, presenting the mselves as teachers of rhetoric and dialectic, for these thinkers offered their students the competence and knowledge necessary to reach and exercise power within a democratic society (25).


17 Thomas Conley also champions this view regarding the connection b etween democracy and sophistry. Conley ready market for their wares, particularly in terms o f rhetorical inst More specifically, the reforms of Cleisthenes establishing a form of democratic government and those of Ephialtes reforming the court system in Athens initiated two basic an elite few, and . that high offices should be entrusted by lot to those among the citizens who were unprecedented social mobility by opening up Athenian politics allowing a ny citizen to instituted the right for every citizen to bring suit against any o ther and be decided by a Heliastic jury (4). Because lawyers such as those of today were nonexistent, every citizen involved in a lawsuit had to argue his (not her) own case; furthermore, these juries consisted of over two hundred members, making deliberat ions significantly more public 5). As a result, eloquence became extremely advantageous and therefore sought after. Among the numerous skills that the sophists offered in their teachings, adroitness in public speaking was the most in demand The importance of a free, democratic regime cannot be overemphasized, for the sophists would have had no market without a society of free individuals. An unquestioned tyranny, aristocracy, or monarchy has no use for teachers of persuasion, oratory, and other skills useful to free citizen politai The end of tyranny, in fact, marks


18 belief in the mutual exclusivity of tyranny and rhetoric is itself a variation on the wider be relevant in a society in which truth were undisputed, unchallenged, and cer tain, regardless of the claims that the idealist philosophy of Plato, for example, would like to hegemonize. Athens, as the center of the Greek empire, was the perfect and obvious choice for the sophists to market the commodity they were offering. Without the establishment of democracy in the fifth century BCE, the prodigious success of the sophists would be inexplicable as would the immense hostility and enmity they aroused in their most ardent competitors from philosophy. An indispensable element for the development of sophistry, then, democracy saw the appearance of certain fundamental constitutional innovations starting in 460 BCE that allowed even the poorest to hold public office. Power was distributed on relatively equal bases on all Athenian citizens which did not include women, metics, and slaves. Worthy of note, only property owning, male, Athenians born citizens took part in and benefitted than about 15 to 20 per (117). Public decisions were reached in public assemblies in which the different factions confronted one another dialectically. The art of rhetoric and debate, as a result, became the primary ingredients of political success. As a matter of fact, rhetoric and oratory began appearing as human communities systematize d into identifiable city states (Habinek 1). When speaking of the socio historical and political context of sophistry, one


19 cannot bu t recognize the nexus between democracy, sophistry and rhetoric or more specifically, the systematic study of rhetoric for these emerged contemporaneously. Cultural Context A cultural shift also occurred from the Dark Ages and Archaic to Classical Greece in the paideia The Greek term paideia denotes culture in a more multifaceted and expansive consciously pursued ideal Hellenic awareness of the and sees in the Greeks, the beginning of civilization (xiii xiv). The role of Sparta in creating the new Greek ideal of man 3 as citizen remains a mong the easiest to define than the rest of Greece due to its key movement toward this ideal (Jaeger, Paideia Vol. 1, 99). Ionia, despite the dearth of reliable information, also played an influential role in the development of these innovative Greek ide als. Even though the aristocracy remained in power since the political and legal reforms did not eliminate the privileges of status and bloodline, the polis was nonetheless a new social ideal. 3


20 Much of what scholars know about early education once again or iginates in Homer (Jaeger, Paideia Vol 1, 100). Many scholars believe that the works attributed to Homer had a strong pedagogical influence on Greek society. Jaeger goes as far as e and the Greek epics had as their purpose not the writing of history but the exploration of human capabilities and limitations (Starr 17). Werner Jaeger also claims th at neither epic can be Paideia Vol. 1, 16). What the Iliad can do is tell spirit of arte (17 18). While the Iliad offers arte of the Odyssey displays more human characters, both commoners and orum and good breeding in all 20). Jaeger believes that Homer had an educational purpose in glorifying discipline the deliberate formation of human character through wise direction directed toward the aristocracy, this process shows education turning into culture for the first time. Once democracy took form, this process extended to the middling class and questions of the teachableness of virtue or arte became issues discussed at large in classical Greece. Before democracy and the sophists, myth and heroic poetry are the Paideia Vol. 1, 41). Among their various innovations, the sophists questioned t he divine will that governs these epics.


21 The Hellenes regarded every part as subsidiary to an ideal whole, the universal, the logos shape the living man as the potter moulds clay and the sculptor carves stone into Paideia V ol. 1, xxii). This molding of human character directly relates to the social role that the sophists provided. Given this focus on the shaping of character, the appearance of the sophists once again emerges prominently and unsurprisingly. They aimed to help for a profit, individuals to compete for their own good, as inspired by the polis and encouraged by the paideia The sophists descanted on traditional Greek themes about human nature and society, justice and happiness. In general, the sophists agreed wit h Socrates on several counts, believing that flourishing communities and lives necessitate civic virtues like justice and moderation, that moral education of some sort promotes these virtues, and that natural talents and practical training are necessary co mponents of moral education and verbal instruction (Rawson 214). Development of Rhetoric and Sophistry The systematic study of rhetoric has uncertain origins but probably originated in Sicily after the overthrow of the tyrants. Citizens had to learn how to express their defenses and give formal talks in assemblies and law courts so as to recover, for example, property that had been usurped by the tyrants (Gagarin 30). More specifically, around 467 B.C.E. in Syracuse, a tyrant named Hieron died and quarrel s over the formerly seized lands


22 developed (Herrick 32). Corax, a rhetorician, and later his student Tisias responded to this need by creating rhetoric, understood as the art of persuasive speech, and teaching it for a fee. They trained citizens in judicia l pleading to help them argue their claims in court and recover their lands. Corax was also instrumental in the development of democratic reforms in Syracuse. Corax, Tisias, or both also crafted a written a sion of speeches, the argument from Sicilian Gorgias brought their achievements to Athens in 427 or Tisias himself may have done so and is said to have taught Lysias and Isocr ates among others. Aristotle, if not one of his students, knew the book or books and summarized the contents of numerous early handbooks in his now lost or Collection of Arts, a work that became the principal source for later scholars of Corax and Tisias (30). Scholars disagree on the validity of this story, and many of whom either do not mention it at all or question its legitimacy. For Cole, who claims that hard facts about th rhetoric, Bice Mortara Garavelli, calls Cora 6, 30 37).


23 Whatever the origin, however, teachers and rhetoricians known as So phists quickly picked up this systematic approach to teaching rhetoric, carrying it to Athens and other city states in Greece where they offered their services for a price (Herrick 32). The sophists as they came to be known later traveled around the poleis as intellectuals who taught subjects useful to effective citizen orators, including rhetoric. They fulfilled a novel need within Hellene society that needed rhetorical skills in order to work together in peace within the new social organization of city s tates, poleis Through rhetoric, then, civilization began to form itself in the way that we know it today. Thomas Habinek argues that rhetoric and oratory come to life when human communitie s become recognizable states Each of these communities created a g of purpose independent of the authority and aspirations of individuals, no matter how individual human life (1) Rhetoric becomes, then, the s pec ialized speech of the state The sophists answered this call by providing their services for a fee, a fee that elicited sophistry, as I will discuss later on. In these yea rs, the democratic regime affirmed itself in the greater part of Greece, and Athens became with Pericles the cultural and artistic center of the Greek world. belief. Starting in 478 BCE, a p eriod of approximately half a century, the Pentecontaetia, began and lasted until the Peloponnesian war (432 BCE). This period of peace allowed great developments and is considered one of the periods of most magnificence of the Greek spirit and culture the Golden Age or the Greek Enlightenment. Daniele Vignali argues that the sophists


24 were children of this time and their thought and pedagogical praxis answered the exact exigencies of this historical, social, and political moment (25). During this flourishin g of democracy, the art of rhetoric and oratory become absolutely central to move the masses and determine their political vote. Within a democratic regime, only those able to persuade listeners and if necessary to dispute interlocutors and opponents in th e presence of the assembly of gathered citizens could manage the newly distributed power (25). Rhetorical and dialectical ability became essential requisites of the ruling class, and the sophists dedicated their attention to these skills, presenting themse lves as teachers of these abilities. Full participation in the life of the city states, therefore, continued to call for the mastery of rhetoric because citizens had to be able to resolve issues among themselves within the flourishing democracy. As a resu lt, rhetoric comes to replace combative resolve of conflict, even if supporting brutal hierarchies, for example in the maintenance of a powerful male citizen population (Habinek 6 7). Although rhetoric becomes an option to violence in conflict resolution, it also serves as a way to exclude others from power (8). The Hellenes were also extremely preoccupied with excluding tyranny. The teachings of the sophists had a clear political legitimation and were clearly although not exclusively offered to those with political prospects, as many scholars show (Vignali 25). While some scholars argue that the contributions of the sophists to philosophical inquiry were inconsequential, the philosophical context of their appearance is crucial to our understanding of their thinking. Werner Jaeger contends that the relevance of the sophists


25 great natural philosophers in the advancement of philosophical thought ( Paideia Vol. 1, 150). Up until the Presocratics and society, the leader of the people was the poet, as well as later the law giver and statesman (Jaeger, Paideia Vol. 1, 152). Teaching of Arte The teaching of virtue or arte was a central argument between the sophists and traditional beliefs or orthodoxa Plato brought this debate to life in one of his most animated Socratic dialogues, in which Socrates argues that arte cannot be taugh t although Socrates believes that all virtue is a kind of knowledge. Protagoras, on the other hand, contends that all kinds of virtues can be taught and are taught especially well by him but that they are not forms of knowledge. The social factors in pla ce when the sophists rose to prominence in Athenian culture were unprecedented due to unexpected military victories against the Persians, as well as technological innovations that stressed human rather than divine intervention. At this time, Athenian democ racy, an experiment like no other in direct and participatory democracy, came to flourish, offering power to any eligible citizen who could persuad e crowds to his point of view. Rhetoric at this time became a necessary tool, as it is still today, of the ri ght of free speech and a just trial. Being teachers of rhetoric and other skills useful for civic status, the sophists visited Athens frequently, even taking part in the cultural reform of Pericles. Furthermore, the growing prosperity of Athens generated a class of citizens with enough time to devote time to their education, which was largely


26 unique service, previously unseen, providing education in an extensive assortment of subjects that would have appealed to young men. Philosophical Context: Presocratics The Presocratics had concerned themselves with the nature of reality and its relation to sensible phenomena (Guthrie 4). A shift in interest from natural phenomena to human affairs occurred around the fifth century BCE. Jaeger believes that scholars should examine the combination of the ethical, political, and religious thought of Solon and the Ionian poets and explode the dichotomy between poetry and prose to underst and the development of philosophy in an accurate manner. Only then can scholars begin to see the shift as a process rather than one system leaving another one behind overnight. Jaeger maintains that political theory is practical while speculation regarding physis and genesis is theoretical: only after studying the external world theoretically did the Greeks think of human nature in those terms as well ( Paideia Vol. 1, 152). Establishing the precise time in which rational thinking begins in Greece remains c hallenging. In the age of the Presocratics the poet was still the unquestioned leader of his people, slowly being joined by the statesman and law giver. Jaeger identifies the Ionians as the first philosophers, a term that, of course, did not gain currency until Plato. Ionian age owing power of the universe its physis (Jaeger, Paideia Vol. 1, 155). After finding that Egypt and the


27 countries in the Near East had disparate creation and divini ty myths, the Greeks began subjecting their own myths of creation to theoretical and causal inquiry (156). They also the universe, inquiring wit hin nature before human be ings. Jaeger marks this moment as the rational thinking ran parallel for quite some time, with logic appearing within mythology, as well as Plato and Aristotle still mytho logizing (151). The Greeks started thinking of human nature theoretically when, by studying the external world through medicine and mathematics, they had created a precise method to study the inner world of humans (152). Philosophers also began writing do wn their thoughts for the first time. Anaximander was the first one, viewing the world as built up by an orderly rather than a chaotic system. His, however, was more of a moral than a physical law of nature regarding the eternal processes of compensation a nd power of dik ruling over natural phenomena (160). His idea of dike is the first stage in the projection of the life of the city as an example interpreting physis (16 1). Similarly, Pythagoras, another Ionian philosopher although he worked in the south of Italy, founded mathemata which blends the science of number, the theory of music, the movement of the stars, known as geometry at the time, and Milesian natural phil osophy (162). Number, for Pythagoras, is the principle of all things, ruling the entire cosmos and human life, making mathematical science the new element of Greek culture and connecting mathematics and music with far reaching consequences (162 64). The co nnection created new laws that governed all


28 aspects of existence, and the new inquiry into the structure of music produced knowledge of harmony and rhythm concepts that affected all spheres of life in a way that resembled the doctrine of justice in socie ty of Solon (164 65). Pythagoreans believed that harmony was the principle of the cosmos (165). Behind harmony lay the concept of proportion, which affected all forms of culture including sculpture, architecture, poetry, rhetoric, religion, and morality (1 65). Like the rule of justice, the Greeks realized that the rules of fitness and propriety had to be maintained. In the sixth century, the Orphic movement formulated a new doctrine of the soul. and a new feeling for held a social responsibility toward the community, in Orphism it meant a moral Humans started believing in their divine destiny, a central innovation in the development of human consciousness of selfhood. Although the soul has no place in the cosmos of the physicists, in the Orphic movement, it restores itself within its religious c onsciousness of selfhood. Civilization came to be seen as discovered by human beings rather than a gift of the gods, as in the mythical tradition. Although Anaximander and Anaximenes created these doctrines of naturalistic explanation of the universe, Xeno phanes advocated them with ardent conviction This new truth transformed the life and faith of humankind, state of arte holding that philosophical truth is the guide to true arte aristocratic culture and the new philosophical ideal of humanity which now sought to


29 n the old aristocracy, the Olympic victor still represented the highest ideal, but Xenophanes first questioned that traditional ideal of manhood, defending philosophical knowledge and showing a new conception of arte in th e form of intellectual culture J came courage, then prudence and justice, and now finally wisdom the virtues which a rte been an original thinker, Xenophanes was the first to tell the Greeks that philosophy could be a cultural force. In addition to Milesian natural philosophy and the arithmetical theories of the Pythagoreans, the final ele ment Greek thought to influence human intellectual and spiritual life was logic. Parmenides, considered by many as one of the greatest philosophers of all times, altered the guiding force behind the speculations of early physicists, which were hitherto led by other forms of spiritual activity. His philosophy revolves around pure reason, making a distinction between thought and perception, known through reason is mere opi nion. At this point, religion begins to give way to philosophy. Like the Milesians, Parmenides had dehumanized the problem of finding an objective conception of the universe, losing track of human life in the in the immens e design of nature Heraclitus hu manized philosophy, placing the human soul at the center of all the energies of the cosmos. While earlier philosophers und


30 knowledge could be achieved if the soul were to examine herself (180). He transformed logos griphos a riddle to be interpreted (180 81). Just li ke the city, the universe appears to have laws of its own for the first time in human history, and only logos can understand divine law Logos is the mind that perceives the meaning of the cosmos. Thinkers before Heraclitus had discerned a new cosmos; Hera clitus gave the human being his/her place as a cosmic being Furthermore, he viewed the process of human existence in an innovative way, seeing both intellectual and physical activity as made up of dichotomies ince ssantly replacing one another. For Heracli tus, human beings are part of the cosmos, subject both to its laws and to the laws of the city state; this kind of freedom differs from the freedom of modern individualism in that human beings are part both of the universal community and th e community to w hich they belong Heraclitus created a moral law of the entire cosmos. The Presocratics started a revolution by applying a scientific approach to the inquiry into nature. While they cannot be lumped together as having had an identical or even similar wor ldview, they do share some commonalities in the form of scientific they assumption s which is absolutely crucial to the development of science, that the human rational min provide an orderly explanation of the whole cosmos and all it main characteristics. Although in the history of ideas one cannot identify exact origins, before the Presocratics, th e world was imbued with sacred meaning, permeated by divinities, gods, goddesses, nymphs, and local deities in every natural manifestation. Anthropomorphized to an


31 extreme in Homeric poetry, the deities controlled every aspect of nature including humans. T he Presocratics found order in the world, an order that can be understood by the human mind. The Presocratics diverged both from the foregoing weltanschauung and full fledged scientism. Although they asked questions similar to those of their predecessors, the presocratics based their answers in an unorthodox framework: they replaced the function of the gods with natural phenomena, used logic to rationalize observable facts, formed general philosophical hypotheses, and held a clear, unrestrained spirit of i nquiry. They differ from scientism by lacking scientific method, building neat but not demonstrable systems (Waterfield xxiv). Although they were not likely the first and only ones to base their conclusions on observation and rational argumentation, the wa y they expressed their conclusions was different from Hesiod and other predecessors. They started a revolution that took centuries to complete, centuries in which a substrate of superstition was still present in the larger part of the population. Sophists The sophists do not at first glance appear as direct successors of the presocratics, given the lack of sophistic interest in scientific issues and metaphysics. The sophists directed their attention to language and all aspects of logos rather than the orig in and nature of the cosmos. Nevertheless, the sophists were indeed the direct successors of the presocratics r anthropocentric emphasis on


32 broaching questions regarding moral, social, and political philosophy. Further, while contemporary science has answered the questions raised by the presocratics, those of the sophists remain debated and largely unanswered. The term sophist ( sophists ) has held varying meanings throughout the millennia since its first appearance. Originally, it referred to a person of sophia usually translated as sk ill or wisdom. The word derives from the adjective sophos which in its original wisd the term to himself although the word dates further back than the fifth century and had been used on poets, musicians, seers, and sages those who had special knowledge an d Protagoras notes (373). Nevertheless Jacqueline de Romilly interprets it ple how to use sophoi which indicates a state of being rather than a profession, the sophists were masters of thinking and talking who made knowledge their area of expertise. nce, mostly non Athenian, independent teachers who travelled throughout Ancient Greece from city to city making sophist, it could be applied to anyone who exercised this profession. independently and charged fees [who] taught different ranges of subjects, but all taught


33 them to develop philosophical theses, and their rivalr she adds, what ruined the reputation of the sop Euripides, and Democritus who may have been influenced by the sophist s (xiv). In ancient times, the term was applied both to individuals still known as sophists today and those who later rejected and contributed to the downfall of the term. Classical texts record the term used on people as varied as Prometheus, Homer, Hesiod, Damon, Solon, Thales, Pythagoras, Anaxagoras, Empe docles, Zeno, Plato, Socrates, and Isocrates were the thought of the term being used on them and some actually contribute fall from grace Today the p eople most often referred to as sophists include Protagoras, Gorgias, Hippias, Prodicus, Thrasymachus, Critias, and Antiphon, as well as on occasion Polus, Euthydemus, Dionysodurus, Callicles, Socrates, Antisthenes, Alcidamas, Lycophron, and the authors of Dissoi Logoi the Anonymus Iamblichi and the Hippocratic Corpus (682). In I sofisti Untersteiner discusses Protagoras, Gorgias, Prodicus, Antiphon, and Hippias in depth, as well Thrasymachus and Critias The meaning of the word sophist changed between the time of Protagoras and that of Aristotle (McKirahan 372). Garavelli sembrare vero


34 conta pi del essere vero ; donde la ricerca sistematica delle prove e lo studio delle technich that seeming real is more important that being real the sophists became a n easy target for attacks regarding moral relativism. The sophistic tradition as such includes a number of the oretical principles 682). The phrase, however, is an anachronism, for it does not appear in any Greek text, dward M. Cope as one of nineteenth century, a category thereafter often taken for granted although the sophists often held different, even contrasting positions on numerous subjects; therefore more accurate and constructive label for their projects than the monolithic singular term (682). The term rhetoric, too, was not coined until the early fourth century BCE, and did not appear in any existing texts by the fif th century sophists. For this reason, Schiappa advocates referring to sophistic rhetoric as sophistic theories of discourse or persuasion (684).


35 Chapter 2 Lite rature Review Despite their virtual disappearance for millennia, the sophists lingered within the scholarly imagination throughout their historical exile, if for no other reason as the contrast to all that is good, moral and virtuous the antithesis of ide alist philosophy. Their reputation ruined by Plato to the point of engendering the negative word, sophistry they have been viewed as sketchy thinkers and accused of producing specious and flawed arguments, a peculiar outcome considering that originally the word sophist sophia the Greek work for knowledge indicates. Nevertheless, during their 2,500 year exile, these figures have come close to without ever fully disappearing. Overcoming the negative connotations associated with sophistry has not proved a simple task. For centuries after the Hellenic period, the sophists were viewed exclusively through the interpretations of Plato. Having become relatively irrelevant and over two thousands of years, the sophist ic tradition h as never the status it earn ed in the fifth and fourth century BCE in Athens, particularly in those circles of people who could enjoy and afford their services. In the Webster Unabridged Dictionary s ophistry denotes le but actually fallacious Oxford English Dictionary


36 Chaucer in 1385. Nevertheless, scholars have been making some progress in reestablishing the positive contributions the sophists have made to democratic societies in the past and can make in the present. In the nineteenth century, sophistry began assuming OED ). The same century witnessed the beginning of the Nineteenth Century Recovery The recovery of the sophists has been attributed to different thinkers at various times, but starting around the middle of the nineteenth century, when Western civilization took a phrase, through the work of Marx, Nietzsche, and subsequently Freud, the sophists came to be reconsidered. This resurgence of these controversial thinkers would emerge expectedly at this point in human history given that most foundational pillars of knowle dge crumbled, much in the way that the sophists believed two millennia earlier. The recovery of the sophists began in the nineteenth century when the sophists were salvaged from the shadows of history by a number of high profile intellectuals. Specificall y, G. F. Hegel in his Lectures in the History of Philosophy later published in 1832, takes sophistic relativism as the antithesis of pre Socratic naturalism in his well known dialectical view of history. Despite its negative representation, Sophistic subj ectivism, in this view, was a crucial step in the history of philosophy because


37 synthesis. The first stage, for Hegel, spans from Thales to Anaxagoras, when thought ap peared in sensory determinations that formulated proto scientific statements about the physical world being perceived. Next as the antithesis, the sophists, Socrates, and the adherents of Socratic thought, strangely grouped together, through skeptical crit icism repudiated this view replacing it with an emphasis on the perceiving subject what today would be dubbed subjectivism. From this clash between thesis and antithesis emerged the synthesis of Plato and Aristotle. The importance of the sophists, then, wa s merely as a negative but nonetheless important stage in the history of the dominant idealist philosophy. This revival brought sophistry back into the scholarly conversation, allowing it to be revisited by later historians and reopening the argument betwe en Plato and the sophists in its various forms, such as the interconnected debate between rhetoric and philosophy and the one between knowledge and discourse. Nevertheless, as many e way of improving their reputation as philosophers, for by making them subjectivists and assigning them the antithesis subdivision of his scheme to the history of Greek philosophy, Hegel appeared to agree with the inimical estimation of Plato and Aristotl e, and idealist philosophy continue d to prevail until the mid twentieth century, with truth and reality still viewed as objective. By being considered opposed to objective truth, especially in the moral realm, the sophists held on to their position as the foes of philosophy. Despite this far from glorious return, however, the sophists at least reentered the conversation and continued to be discussed throughout the nineteenth century.


38 Among the scholars to revisit the sophists are historian Eduard Zeller in Germany, as well as George Grote and George Henry Lewes in Britain. Although Zeller recognizes that the sophists had been misrepresented throughout history, he ultimately considers them lacking in comparison to Platonic idealism. Zeller view s the sophists as having much in common regardless of individual distinctions, viewing them as part of the same educational discipline, a view still debated today as I will discuss below. Following in the lines of Hegel, for the most part, he considers the sophists as d etrimental to the scientific enterprise, holding their rhetoric as dealing with appearances and condemning their morals as downright perilous. However, he observe s some redeeming qualities, acknowledging the philosophical validity of subjectivity for the f the sophists and their teachings, his conclusions deeming the sophists as making truth as a matter of personal preference and as an instrument to fulfill selfish needs. Fu rther, in Die Philosophie der Griehes in ihrer geschichtlichen Entwicklung published in 1920, Willhelm Nestle denied them the title of philosophers, reestablishing philosophy as exclusively traditional. Despite these efforts i n the nineteenth century, the end of the century had yet to see the rehabilitation of the following one, and by the last third of the nineteenth century, Henry Sidgwick sums up overthr e w them (Qtd. in Guthrie 11). George Grote and George Lewes, on the other hand, were more approving, particularly of sophistic philosophical skepticism a


39 consensus. Grote, in particular, viewed them as exponents of intellectual progress though purported immoral doctrines on the ground s that not even Plato had attacked the principal sophists Protagoras, Prodicus, Hippais, and Gorgias. While defending them against allow the sophists to be secured as a c shielding the sophists against the accusations of corrupting the Athenian moral character, the lack of cohesion in sophistic thought made them difficult to safeguard. George Lewes of the sophists. T he T wentieth Century The sophists have been enjoying increasing and considerable attention in the scholarship since their revival in the nineteenth century. Their recovery continued in the twentieth century, which, however, begins in a w ay that would have pleased Plato and his followers in the subsequent two millennia. The second half of the twentieth century witnessed an actual revitalization of their ideas. In the first half of the twentieth century, however, scholars relegated the soph ists to the margins by including and by appealing to them primarily as predecessors of philosophers proper. Discussions of the sophists continued to appear regularly in scholarly works until the mid twentieth century although minimally. They materialized in scholarly works under subordinate categories such as presocratic philosophy, humanism, epistemology, ethics, pragmatism, and nihilism within minor entries in the work of Jean Bord i eau, William James, James H. Tufts, John Dewey, and F.C.S. Schiller, rath er than receiving


40 expansive treatments of their own. These revaluations of the sophists still relied on Plato, reassessing and reappraising his interpretations of the sophists rather than turning to the work of the sophists themselves. Nevertheless, the pr imary contributions of the sophists came to be recognized as less than negative in the first quarter of the first century but nonetheless remained secondary to other branches of learning. After World War II, a turn against Plato occurred due to numerous st udies tying Nazism to Platonic ideals of a stratified society. While not devoted to the sophists as such, Werner Jaeger notes them as making a significant contribution to the Greek paideia by devoting an entire chapter to them in his masterful work on the ideals of Greek culture. Jaeger towers among classicists, not only to the history of the sophists but also to classical paideia in general. A renowned Aristotelian, he had and continues to have a colossal influence on his generation of classicists and beyo nd. I draw on Jaeger throughout this dissertation, so for now suffice it to say that Jaeger views the sophists as the inventors of intellectual culture, the art of education, pedagogy, and rhetoric (297 98). This lack of formal and expansive treatments is nevertheless revealing in itself. It exposes the absence of an official restoration of the sophists as serious intellectuals and even philosophers, as the scholarship of the late twentieth and early twenty first century scholarship in particular will do. The dearth of comprehensive studies up until the mid twentieth century further indicates that the sophists were yet to be considered as worthy of intellectual attention in their own right. Up until this stage, the sophists, al though recovered, were yet t o qualify as making an intellectual contribution worthy of


41 substantial scrutiny and analysis. This academic phenomenon makes the work of Mario Untersteiner on the sophists particularly noteworthy. I Sofisti ( The sophists ) by Mario Untersteiner, was and re mains an authority on the subject despite the number of scholars who followed him. He offers one of the first full scale treatments of the sophists which was first p ublished in Italy in 1949 and translated into English by Kathleen Freeman in 1954 Unterst einer and comprehensive historical and philosophical reinterpretation of the sophists, whom he examines primarily as theoretical philosophers more than as rhetoricians. Untersteiner veers away from presenting an account of their unfavo rable history as assailants of traditional values, squabblers, and spurned paid teachers, as, he states in the opening, do the textbooks before him. While the conclusions in his study do not diverge greatly from earlier studies, Untersteiner proposes that the sophists, each of whom he explores in depth within each chapter, contend with the same issue from which emerge disparate I sofisti remains among the most extensive treatments o f the primary sophist In a less developed study of the sophists Eric Havelock attempts to correct the history of political theory in his The Liberal Temper in Greek Politics finding that up to and Aristotle would have and liberal thinking in Greece and seeks to resuscitate the liberal pluralism of the sophists 19). G.B. Kerferd whose work I discuss in more detail below offers a useful classification of the defenders of the sophists in the twentieth century, placing them into


42 who wer e Hegalian (10). While these two classifications are never precise, leanings can be easily noticed. The positivist view examines what the sophists did and were rather than what they thought. In this view, the sophists . were inspired above all by the educational ideal of rhetoric . the encyclopoaedists or illuminators of Greece [,] above all teachers of the ideal of political virtue (or more simply how to succeed in politics) or of the ideal of virtue or success in life in all its aspects . or . humanists in that they put man [ the human being ] and his [/her] values in the central place in the interpreta tion of the universe. (10 11) In this sense the sophists fully embody the paideia as outlined by Werner Jaeger. On the other hand, Hegalians, such as W.C. Guthrie situate the sophists within the history of philosophy These two camps recreated the ones between the sophists and Plato in classical Greece. Classicists and historians of rhetoric, such as W.C. Guthrie, G.B. Kerferd himself, John Po ulakos, and Richard Enos, fall into the objectivist group, aiming to substantiate the sophists as consequential intellectuals. The sophists remained among the philosophers in the views of many other scholars. W. K. C. Guthrie, for example, continues the He gelian tradition. Although his own views seem to lean in favor of the idealist tradition, he credits the sophists with being an intellectual movement unparalleled


43 From the early 1960s through the 1970s, works on rhe toric presented a very The Art of Persuasion in Greece (1963) and Classical Rhetoric and Its Christian and Secular Tradition form Ancient to Modern Times (1980), James L. Theory of D iscourse (1971) Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student (1980) all follow an Aristotelian episteme either ignoring or presenting a very negative view of the sophists. This orientation offers a view of rhetoric that favors wha t George Kennedy calls Classical Rhetoric reinscribing, therefore, the philosophy/rhetoric dichotomy (16). However, several exceptions surfaced, with numerous studies now being devoted to the sophists in their own right. On e of the most significant contributions to sophistic scholarship emerged in Great Britain with in the work of G.B. Kerferd, particularly his The Sophistic Movement Kerferd seeks to establish the sophists as philosophers, opposing the traditional charges he ld against them as unphilosophical and immoral by contending that the sophists not only continued the philosophical conversation with the presocratics but also propounding that close to every philosophical issue broached by Socrates and Plato was sparked b y the sophists. The main focus of his germinal study, however, consists of his interpretation of the key contributions of the sophists to specific fields of inquiry. Outlining the range of problems formulated and addressed by the sophists, Kerferd deems th em incredibly accept relativism in values and elsewhere without reducing all to subjectivism, and the belief that there is no area of human life or of the world as a whole w hich should be


44 These themes resonate today as much as they did then. While Kerferd does not claim to make a dent in the subject, he introduces and addresses a great number of issues. The philosophical problems in the theory of knowledge and perception; the nature of truth; the sociology of knowledge; a belief in progress; the questioning of religious deities, the theoretical and practical problems of life within society in general and dem ocracy in particular; the meaning of justice; the problems of punishment; the nature and purpose of education; and the mindboggling suggestion regarding the teachability of virtue. Kerferd rejects the contention that the sophists were of limited importan ce and merely served to pave the way for Plato and broached all facets of huma n activity but also did so for the first time. Ultimately, Kerferd grants the sophists a place among the great achievements of Periclean Athens, not only in their own right, but also, perhaps surprisingly, in the history of philosophy (176). While Kerferd makes no attempt to analyze or even survey the fragments left by the sophists, his The Sophistic Movement makes a well rounded contribution to sophistic scholarship. Susan Jarratt, in Rereading the Sophists, revisits the sophists to explain and offer an a lternative to the Aristotelian orientation still prevalent in the first two thirds of the twentieth century. text aims both to add to our historical backgrounds and bring new concerns to the field of rhetoric and composition, which in her view di scovers its history in classical tradition, adding the sophists to the commonly discussed Aristotle,


45 Cicero, and Quintilian. The book investigates the reasons why the sophists reappeared in the history of rhetoric and argues for giving them a more prominen t role because the sophists, as the supposed inventors of rhetoric, offered the first systematic instruction in tecedents for later rhetorical thought inherited from Aristotle and Plato by discussing the sophists in terms of history and historiography, exploring the shift from mythos to logos adding a feminist interpretation to the first sophists, and offering a view of sophistic pedagogy, both in classical Greece and current United States. Jacqueline de Romilly studies the sophists in relation to the Athenian culture that they so de eply influenced. By focusing on the dialogue that occurred between the sophists and the Athenian public opinion, de Romilly considers the sophists in their myriad roles: teacher s bold thinkers, moral philosophers, and political theorists. A similar patter n emerges when looking at the sophists; their audacious discoveries arouse d outraged responses and acrimonious criticism merely to reappear and be accepted when revisited. Despite the harsh criticisms and fragmentary remnants of sophistic writings the deg ree of their innovations proves undeniable, particularly from a postmodern standpoint. De Romilly finds that their impact upon the history and development of Greek thought es Romilly, that


46 two completely so utterly contrary forms of thought emerged contemporaneously is nothing short of a miracle (235 36). The victory went to philosophy, of course, and de R omilly concludes that due to the loss of Athenian independence and the lack of written works left behind, the role of the sophists lost its import. Further, their multiple roles, as philosophers, teachers of rhetoric, political advisers, logicians, stylis ts, and scholars, were too much to carry and eventually narrowed down to teachers of rhetoric. Nonetheless, the movement they set into motion undoubtedly generated novel outlooks in every intellectual field. Basic procedures of rhetoric, both involving sty le and composition, as well as reasoning and a sort of logic; the study of grammar; reflections on human nature, psychology, reactions to different circumstances, strategy, and politics; comparative studies of different societies; a vast array of technai o r human sciences, ones that the modern age is revisiting and continuing all emerged from the sophists. Much of the recent scholarship takes on individual sophists. Scott Consigny characterizes this new stage in the scholarship on sophistic rhetoric in his Gorgias: Sophist and Artist (2001). Considering Gorgias the most elusive sophist, he finds that the primary issues that scholars have with Gorgias are that 1) his extant texts are far from complete, 2) his writing is slippery, and 3) our own impossibility in recreating the On Not Being and Helen are not only possibly inaccurately transcribed and paraphrased but also dubiously authored. Even assuming their authorship and accuracy, the writing itself proves extrem ely ambiguous through lack of definition and use of sphinx like tropes (5). Nevertheless, h e identifies former


47 scholarship as either and developed by Untersteiner, Rosenmeyer, Gronbeck, Miller, and White; or ini tiated by Grote, and continued by Loenen, MacDowell, Romilly, Enos, and Schiappa His approach to Gorgias differs from these previous studies. Consigny views philosoph 35, 203). Gorgias rather, understand s s sanctioned ago sees Further rejecting subjectivist poli tical views which he considers as promoting a Pan Hellenic community of individuals who mold themselves and each other by taking part in a variety of agons, and (119 49 ). Consigny contends that On Not Being contributes both to pre Socratic philosophy broadly and to Eleatic ontology and epistemology more specifically, as well as anticipating twentieth century vi ews of language, knowledge, and truth of Heidegger, Derrida, Wittgenstein, Ayer, Rorty, and Fish while Helen treats a variety of epistemological and ethical issues, scie nce; the limits of free choice in the face of chance, fate, and compulsion; the conflict


48 apol ogia that differs from other rehabilitations of Gorgias by t aking the middle road between the historical reconstruction and contemporary interpretation approaches to Gorgias Consigny aims to show the sophist as one who both rejects and embodies logical a nd mythic thought replacing the evolutionary narrative of progress from myth to the rationality and objectivity of science and logic or of regression agonal struggle between models of rationality (205). The agonal narrative coincides with contemporary philosophy the likes of Richard Rorty, who views rationality as the faculty of drawing from existing resources ion, accepting opposing points, and employing persuasion over coercion (205 206). This view posits the ancient quarrel not as one between mythically minded herd and enlightened analytical fifth Therefore, Consigny views Gorgias as championing neither mythic nor logical thought ; rather, Gorgias encourag es the contingent convention of the agon in which individuals propose competing interpretations to persuade particular audiences within a community. Consigny thus considers Gorgias as an antifoundationalist who plays a considerably more important role than previously seen as a precursor of contemporary though t. Numerous studies that cover individual sophists further connect them to influential modern thinkers. Keith Crome seeks to displace the opposition between sophistry and philosophy by examining Jean sophistry. His study reveals that Lyotard sought to establish the originality of thought and


49 contribution of the sophists as more than merely contributing to the development of philosophy. Crome seeks to restore sophistry by reconstructing its complex role in the constitution, institution, life, and destiny of philo sophy thus offering a critical perspective on its origins and genealogy that can aid in putting the truth of philosophy into question, After an excellent account of the sophists, Hegel and so phistr y, and Heidegger and sophistry, Crome finds that in Just Gaming Lyotard views intelligences as regulated by diversity and difference of opinion (121). Therefore, Lyotard considers sophistry as a n attempt to retrieve or restore a type of political in telligence that is sophistical, a manner of acting or judging politically 61). intensifies in The Differend further and more radically redeeming sophis try by connecting the sophistic notion of truth to his notion of differend. The differend (at least) that cannot be decided equitably for lack of a rule of judgment applicable to both Crome explains that in such cases, both parties have equally valid and necessary grounds, giving rise to an antithetic for neither party has a justifiable basis for superiority (123). Lyotard casts his account of the differe nd with respect to antinomies of pure reason into soul, the world, and God, which Crome addresses as psychology, cosmology, and theology all of which can indicate apparent, unmistakable, overpowering, valid proofs, which Kant calls dogmatic ; t hus L yotard points beyond Kant and toward sophistry (124 25 ) Lyotard, in this view, is arguing that implies even if it does not acknowledge it the idea of the differend (129 ). In his


50 Crome seeks to establish a relation between philosophy and sophistry does not exclude the sophist from truth by arguing that Lyotard reveals that On Nature or On Not Being illustrates the concept, for nature or physis and not being are opposites. In the last decade of the twentieth century, scholars have shift ed the recovery of the sophists to Friedrich Nietzsche, in addition to the other major German scholars recognized as having regenerated a positive interest in the sophists, such as G.W.F. Hegel. Untersteiner is among the first scholars to take this turn in the first half of the twentieth century, and in the 1990s Eric White, Victor Vitanza, David Roochnik, E. R. Dodds, Daniel Shaw, John Poulakos, Joel Mann, and several other scholars follow this drift publishing numerous articl es regarding the connection between Nietzsche and the sophists. The last decade of the twentieth century saw a definite trend exploring this connection. insights that are rele vant to current theories of discourse and composition. Scholars continue to show great interest in the epistemological doctrines of the sophists based on Protagoras famous dictum gods, and thus h e has been characterized as an early humanist. The twenty first century continues to witness the production of studies on the on individual sophists. Protagorean studies in particular appear in contemporary scholarship. One such study, Edward Pr otagoras and Logos: A Study in Greek Philosophy and Rhetoric (2003)


51 Protagoras did not author a techn about rhetoric, he conceived the scope and function of logos that lai d the groundwork for the development of rhetoric. Although a unified the sophists shared an inclination toward oral prose over poetry, as well as humanistic logos ove r mythos Therefore, Schiappa calls for individual studies of sophists to generate a recovery of embryonic sophistic theories of rhetoric. Furthermore, this study grants Protagoras the position as the first professional sophist to examine and critique epic dialogic interaction in small groups, and antithetical articulation of public positions. Schiappa also concedes that Protagorean theory and practice of logos aimed at im proving individuals, thus departing from the traditional view of arte as a matter of noble birth or wealth. Furthermore, the teachings of Protagoras held the ideological function of advancing Periclean democracy and disputing aristocratic monism, as well as defending consensual decision making and providing a system to assist organized debate. Nevertheless, Schiappa distinguishes between a theory of rhetoric proper and that of logos as evidenced by the title of his work, believing that they are not entire ly the same. Gorgias continues to be discussed. A particularly interesting contribution comes Gorgias and the New Sophistic Rhetoric (2002). The first part of the work takes on the task of correcting Platonic misrepresentations o f Gorgias and and composition. In the process, he considers the theory of rhet


52 as a way to analyze the function of language in shaping of human knowledge. Further, he public discourse (66). Identifying 75). McComiskey concludes with a discussion of the implications of sophistic rhe toric and multiculturalism in the global village. Other studies on the sophists in general also continue to be published. The Sophists (2008) offers an excellent introduction to sophistry in a collection of essays that treat the main s ophists, as well as the theoretical issues and historical context surrounding them. One of the contributors, Steven Robinson adds an interesting take on the historical development of the sophists. Robinson offers an example directly related to the most com mon origin story of rhetoric. He quotes Pindar, who in the second of his Olympian Odes have I crooked beneath my elbow in the quiver for speaking to those who understand; but for the masses interpreters are r equired. Wise is the man with much inborn knowledge; while those who learn by study, like a pair of greedy crows, spout indiscriminate chatter should be ignored for the


53 Tisias Le origini sociali della sofistica Mario Untersteiner, a prolific and renowned Italian scholar of literature and history of philosophy, spent his career publishing on a number of subjects for decades. Along w ith Augusto Rostag ni and Doro Levi, he ranks among the most authoritative voices of international rhetoric in general and Italian rhetoric in particular. Although interests were wide ranging, varying from religious to literary history and from philology to ph ilosophy, which became his predominant concern in the last years of his life, his entire activity as a scholar rotates around a great central theme that constitutes its object and instrument: reason, intelligence, or, to use the term in his classics, logos (Caizzi 39). Furthermore, in his studies, the profound connection between myth and philosophy his name remains cited regularly throughout the last two decades of the twentieth century and still today. Most significant, his work on the Sophists plays a major role in the scholarship devoted to this harangued group of individuals, and he ranks among the authorities in regards to the sophists. Untersteiner taught and st udied the Greek world as a professor and scholar. His first published interest was Parmenides in 1925. His attention in the 1930s and 1940s then shifts to the history of literature, particularly Greek tragedy and religion. His studies on Sophocles, Aeschyl us, Pindar, and Plato culminate this phase with two volumes on the


54 origins of tragedy and physiology of myth titled Le origini della tragedia ( The Origins of Tragedy 1942) and La fisiologia del mito ( The Physiology of Myth 1946). In the 1940s, Unterstein er became interested in the sophists. The first edition of I sofisti appeared in 1949, while the second was published in 1967. In the 50s and 60s, he published two volumes collecting the fragments of Xenophanes and Paremenides; then his interest shifted to Aristotle and returns to Plato. Influenced by German neo humanism, Untersteiner exulted classical ethics over Christian ones and the incitement to classical studies as the antidote to every sort of spiritual deadening (Parente 36 37). Within his own scho larship I sofisti completes the path begun with La nascita della tragedia ( The Birth of Tragedy ) and La fisiologia del mito three autonomous but homogenous moments of the progressive establishing of the rationality of logos and the correspondence of thi s development with the explanation of the problems faced by the Greeks in the apprehension of reality (Brancacci 100). When the first Italian edition of I sofisti Le origini sociali della sofistica I sofisti of the work begun with La fisiologia del mito Scholars agree that I sofisti is most likely the most influential and famous a among the most thorough and expansive treatments of the sophists. At the time of its publication I sofisti was the first full scale treatment of the subject; despite the forty or so years since its second publication, it remains extremely valuable to scholars and laypeople. The English edition first appeared in 1954, translated by Kathleen Freeman. To the best of my knowledge, the second Italian edition has never been translated.


55 Aldo Brancacci delves int o both The Sophists Le origini sociaili della sofistica I sofisti oeuvre scholarly work. Brancacci argues that La fisiologia del mito published in 1946 confirms the nexus that, al ready from these years, connects the studies on tragedy and myth to sophistry (99). More specifically, the re elaboration of the notion of myth in the poetry of Pindar, the tragedy of Aeschylus and Sophocles, and the historiography of Herodotus is succeede d by the epoch of solutions, realized by sophistry, which reinterprets the mythical forms in light of the rationality of thought and language, bringing the implicit tensions to bear (99). Brancacci argues that the three stops, La nascita della tragedia La fisiologia del mito and I sofisti constitute three autonomous but homogenous moments of a single path turned towards reconstructing the successive stages in the progressive establishment of the rationality of logos and to indicate, more precisely, the c orresponding of this development to the different modes of explanation of the problems that the Greek (hu)man poses himself in the apprehension of the reality in front of him/her (100). Mario Untersteiner: la fiducia nella ragione Faith in logos Logos one of the most multifaceted and nuanced terms that contemporary rhetorical studies has inherited from classical Greek thinking has shifted in meaning throughout t he millennia since its first appearance. Drawing on the words of Untersteiner himself, Caizzi states greatest attempt to justify to themselves and for themselves their o wn existence in the world, an attempt that could best be understood by reconstructing the history of the


56 emergence of logos in ancient thought (40). This attempt, however, should not be understood primarily or exclusively as a history of the process of rat ionalization, even though it occupies an important role; the studies that Untersteiner dedicates to the ancient world propose to make evident the various and diverse moments of the exegesis of the problems that the relation of humans with their reality gen erates (40). Never adopting a materialistic interpretation in his explanations of the ancients, the formulation of his research did not prevent any direction in his inquiries, particularly social and political, as Le origini sociali della sofist ica Le origini sociali della sofistica originally a lecture presented in Brussels on April 29 th 1949, and later at the Sorbonne, on May 5 th of the same year. The piece was subsequently added to the second edition of The Sophists which was also considerably revised from its previous release. As the title Le origini sociali della sofistica about and facilitated the appearance of sophi stry. This supplementary treatment of a subject Untersteiner explored in such depth adds a social element to rhetoric, the primary subject taught by the sophists.


57 Chapter 3 [A well known Italian max im Because of the complications and problematic nature of translation I face the dilemma of any translator: fidelity to word translation or fidelity to become aware of the way in which the translator, like the orator, negotiates between a subject and an audience, seeking out a rhetoric adequate to the situation . Communication is inesc apably rhetorical; this is as true of translation as it is of public speaking or letter 268). I preserve the original terminology wherever possible. Nevertheless, certain nuances and connotations, with the aggravating circumstance of time, wi ll ine vitably be lost in translation. ] 1. The Pentecontaetia as the Age of the Problems Posed by Social Life. With the present research, one [the author] does not want to penetrate within the mystery of the creative genius of all of the sophists. Their o riginality can be interpreted but never completely relived in its mysterious development in anticipation of the insight that created individual philosophical systems. Nevertheless, in the case of sophistry, it is legitimate more than other [forms of] philo sophy to attempt the discovery of a vision of


58 particular movements not even specifically philosophical, but rather social that, which appearing over the course of a very specific age, have brought forth a grouping of problems and a wave of spiritual moment s, / destined to inevitably lead to speculative thought. Drawn by an irresistible attraction, the s ophists throw a penetrating glance on grasp the profound s ense of their role in the logical coherence of reality 1 As ph in moments of crisis, impose persistent issues, and they seek out well defined resolutionary paradigms, without dismissing opposite interpretations from time to time. That such a condition may have taken place is understood clearly when one remembers the manner in which s ophistry, more than any other philosophical school, must be understood as the natural expression of a new consciousness that is ready to inform how contradictory, and therefore tragic, reality is. One may very well claim that the formation of s ophistry was the consequence, in the speculative domain, also of an historical and social situation that defined itself as a tangle of crises culmin ating during the p entecontaetia and, in part, in the decades that preceded this period. Later, when the Peloponnesian war erupted, the sense of all these crises became even clearer [538] within its own terms and, therefore, became exacerbated toward a prob lematic situation that might have seemed, and perhaps was, unsolvable. Hellenic social life especially the Attic one in which s ophistic thought was able to crystallize was subjected, from the beginning of the fifth century BCE and with an 1 I Sofisti which w ill be cited as Sofisti


59 accelerated move ment after the Persian wars, to / continuous subversions due to new events If it is true that the Hellene s did not know the modern concept of society, wrapped up as they were in the constraints of the limitations of a relational contrast between the 2 and if it is true that, unaware of the idea of history as state similar to nature 3 we must nonetheless recognize that social life, not yet t ranslated in to scientific awareness, precisely in the fifth century began to form as an operating reality. In fact, the physical barriers between separate tribes and people come to fall definitely, and more or less direct ly in to the relationships [as they] began forming between these social entities 4 Imagine: the closed circles of the impenetrable and autonomous unity of the noble families, whose fracture in Attica had begun with Draco and with Solon are definitely torn apart only immediately after the a ge of the thirty tyrants, when collective responsibility in terms of penal law is condemned, so as to recognize instead the full freedom of the individual, who within the new deeper and more human 5 social kinship is united with every other equal citizen 6 However, evidently, over the course of the century, at the benefit of the critical spirit, the war had continued between the political solidarity, by now triumphant, and that of the noble families hard to perish 7 / One must also think of the commerce tha 2 Cp. M. POHLENZ, Der hellenische Mensch Gttingen, 1947, p. 107. 3 CHIAPPELLI, Sof ., pp. 18 19. 4 Cp. L. T. HOBHOUSE, Sociology in J. Hastings, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics XI, p. 654 b, which considers these factors as essential for the study of society. 5 Les dmocraties antiques Paris, 1920, p. 133. 6 G. GLOTZ, Histoire grecque II (1931), pp. 136 ff .; II (1936), p. 72. 7 L. G ERNET et A. BOULANGER, Les genie grec dans la religion Paris, 1932, pp. 289 290.


60 of the poleis opening the way to the formation of more ample economic unities 8 apt to establish, due to their own depth of relationships, the rise of an attitude of inquiry and judgment 9 ; furt hermore, all this movement, with the enabling of an always greater influx of Metics, expanded and universalized, through the rich spiritual contribution that they brought 10 the horizon of culture, even if the Hellenics, more due [538] to national prejudice than for sentimental repugnance against different origins 11 ended up stalling for the most part, in the face of the decisive step of internationalism, too dominated as they were by the pride of the ir own spiritual superiority. Also, this limitation estab lished an ulterior deficiency in the sociology of the Hellenics 12 However, those bastions that in the political domain were meant to be conserved crumbled rather rapidly due to the problems of thought. A political event that occurred over the course of th e fifth century had a determining importance within social life and wielded, as will be clarified later on, a decisive influence on the laying out of the problems confronted by sophistry. The aristocracy, as a specific political phenomenon, ends in many ar eas even though it does not perish intestate, since it will renew itself / in the oligarchies. However right around the middle of the century, the breakdown of the Boeotian independence, at least until Chaeronea, causes a crisis that sweeps the entire ari stocracy and that is particularly significant because it was suffered by Pindar 13 so that a political event became a spiritual 8 G. DE SANCTIS, Storia dei Greci Florence, 1939, II, p. 162. 9 Cp. MHL, Mensch ., 1928, p. 12; GOMPERZ, Pens ., II, pp. 167. 10 Cp. GLOTZ, Hist. gr. note II, p. 256. 11 A. DILLER, Race, Mixture among the Greeks before Alexander University of Illinois, 1937, p. 157. 12 Op. cit ., p. 18. 13 Cp. SCHMID, Lit., I, pp. 573 574, and H. GUNDERT, Pindar und sein Dichterberuf Frankfurt a. M., 1935, p. 48. It is good to keep in mind th at, if the crumbling of the aristocracy in Boeotia has a


61 problem 14 The Homeric ideal is no longer current if not through a critical and dramatic transformation that, glimpsed by Pindar, inclined to interpret the past profoundly, and is driven to extreme consequences by the open mindedness of the s ophists, whose glance wants to comprehend in a primary way the present turmoil. When one world sets and another one rises, souls are lost not only in thought but also in action. The spiritual unity of a Solon or a Peisistratus is over forever. One need only recall the Thucydidean representation of the pentecontaetia, during the development of which, with respect to society two moments mark them selves as decisive: the problem of the human character and that of constitutions, a sign of a typical attitude of correspond ent people. In the first place, the two figures of Pausanias and of Themistocles fill the scene of the pentecontaetia much more tha n what Thucydides materially renders. To Pausanias of tradition 15 / so he plotted to accomplish something that had to surpass the normal political categories of t he Hellenics 16 Therefore, his collusion with Persia became without a doubt a fault, although it corresponded to a political plan later carried out by Lysander 17 and analogously Themistocles, who went to Persia to the new king Ardashir I, [and] was tried, e vidently for anti Spartan politics that had to be carried out later by paradigmatic value for us, the political phenomenon is not isolated since, even earlier, it had manifested itself in the western Greece and in the Peloponnesian, especially in Argos and Ilia: cp. GLO TZ, Hist. gr, cit ., II, p. 123, and H. SCHAEFER, Staatsform und Politik Leipzig, 1932, p. 152. 14 Cp. JAEGER, Paid ., I, pp. 291 294, 317 318. 15 THUC., I, 130 (transl. Sgroi). 16 THUC., I, 13 THUKYDIDES erkl. Von J. Classen, I. Bd. Bearb. Von J. Steup, Berlin, 1919, ad. L. 17 G. DE SANCTIS, St. gr. Cit., II, pp. 54 55.


62 Conon 18 Thucydides, despite not being able to defend Themistocles nonetheless foresees deeply th e contemporary events, and commendably divined the consequence of the distant future 19 However, from the entire narration of Thucydides we feel, more than an exhaustive historical judgment, the agonizing and astonished impression that the Hellenics felt i n the face of those two so enigmatic characters. After all, even though Thucydides does not confront the problem, the figure of Cimon must not have appeared less complex, even according to those who admired him 20 One might say that in this epoch all the gr eat characters had to have appe ared as hardly understandable as they submitted themselves to the judgment of the crowd, because in the new age the human spirit took on much more complex attitudes than in the past 21 / This was the effect none other than of a social life so rich of elements that had to have repercussions upon the inner being of the single individuals. The two opposing speeches that pronounced by the Corinthians on the occasion of the C ongress of Sparta, held immediately preceding the Pelopon nesian War, and that of the Athenians unfolding before the Spartans 22 meant especially that, by this point, the constitution and social impact of a people, mutually influencing each other, resolve 18 G. DE SANCTIS, Storia della republica ateniese Turin, 1912, pp. 396 397. 19 THUC., I, 138. 3. 20 Critias DK 88 B 8 and 52 21 This can be said, for example, also of Aristides (cp. DE SANCTIS, cit ., p. 390 and previous pages) and especially Pericles: recall the contrasting judgme nts that his contemporaries formulated of him. To have an overall view, apt to feel the problematic of the great figures of the pentecontaetia, one can see Gorgias where they presented themselves in their hardly resolvable complexity, which tra nspires also within the words of Plato, who, though condemning these men of the past, appears to be almost obsessed by them: cp. PLAT., Gorg ., 503 C, 515 C, 519 C. 22 THUC., I, 67 71; 72 78. An interesting passage should be recalled from the VIII letter of Plato (355 D), which states that having saved Hellas from the barbarians brought, as a result, to the possibility of constitutional discussions.


63 themselves in spiritual unity. But, in addition, the socio political organism turns out to be the fruit of complex encounters brought about by a more lively dramatic existence of the [the socio political organism] taken in itself, forms an unsolvable problem in view of every other. [540 ] One must, therefore, recognize in the age of the pentecontaetia a perennially renovated encounter of social events that, already because often for the first time they become apparent with such decisiveness, they soon transform themselves in to problems t hat bring about the formulation of new ideas, new political and philosophical systems with the aim of suggesting possible solutions simultaneously 23 2. The Crisis of the Aristocracy Determines a New Spirituality in the Hellenic World 24 A. The Idea of Com munity and its Gnoseological Consequences Even the Hellenic aristocracy, as all the great human manifestations fixed their thought in the most systematic and durable way, when the time of its decline had already been marked. The same would happen, one ce ntury later, for the polis that found in Plato and Demosthenes its most comprehensive interpreters. The commemoration of certain ideas, that have established the eternal power of the aristocracy, will turn out to be particularly important in light of det ermining the main 23 Regarding the fifth century as an epoch that poses problems, and having posed them, resolves them, see also w hat I had occasion to clarify in Mito pp. 240 242; 300 24 CORBATO, Sof. pol. p.3 Untesteiner, which seems exactly of great importance for the clarification of these connections and to my thesis, observing, with rich doc umentation, how there had been a close and continuous relationship between oligarchs and sophists: these were often the teachers of those (cp. op. cit. pp. 4, 15 16; 20, 36 37).


64 causes for the formation of that social substrate, from which came a necessary orientation for sophistry. In the figure of the aristocratic person and in his relationship with \ the community one establishes a completely unusual gnoseolo gical situation. In fact, one can say that, on the one hand, the aristocrat requi r e s the envy expressed from those below him to highlight his autonomous happiness 25 while on the other, bound as he is to the judgment of his fellow citizens, he finds difficu normal limits of existence 26 This fluctuation of man between creative autonomy and submission to a collective entity is truly decisive: the regulated life, the by now firmly definite customs establish the limits on de sire / and, therefore, to the free self actualizing of individuals 27 When the aristocracy began to lose energy and finally crumble, man as say a army of horsemen / some say a host of foot soldiers on the black / earth, is the most beautiful thing, I say / whatever one loves 28 displays how a type of loss had pervaded, order, that was b swept away by a kind of relativism 29 in nearly a renunciation of proudly dominating the whole world, according to a sound principle. When the noble truths of aristocratic ethics, which imposed a course of action, vanish, then, in front of the possibility of setting out to attain and attaining any goal, the will goes wild, free by now of restraints: so Solon, 25 Cp. PIND., Ol ., VI, 6 7; Phyth ., I, 85, VII, 19 ff. Ecc., AESCH., Ag ., 937 939. 26 MAX WUNDT, Geschichte der griechischen Ethik Leipzig, 1908, I, p. 82. Cp. EUR., Ion 602 604. 27 Op. cit. I, p. 86. 28 Fr. 27 a, 1 4 D (transl. Romagnoli). 29 Cp. HERMANN FRNKEL, Dichtung und Philosophie des frhen Griechentum Mnchen 1962, pp. 2 11 213.


65 Pindar, and Aeschylus create the theodicies 30 so that, as in the case of public opinion, individual liberty contrasted the barrier of a universal concept. This problem of the constructive will presents itself as hardly solvable: so states implicitly the aristocratic Theognis e loveliest thing 31 Against the barrier of the justice, which / the aristocracy attempts to elevate to give unity to the manifold manifestations of existence, the autho r of these verses uncovers, without stating it explicitly, the power of the will that comes to be arranged on the same level of the absolute, normative principle. Man, therefore, during the crisis of the aristocratic age vacillates between the seduction of the individual impulse and the ambition towards a universal ethical principle, so that the conquest of personal originality represents a slippery problem within a conscious achievement. For the aristocratic world, especially at the time of the decline, t he most immediate ambition vibrates in the awareness of efficacy that emanates from eternal ideas 32 [ aidos, reverence/respect ] [ dike, justice/theodicy], generic concepts more than anyt hing, constitute the basis of aristocratic society 33 as appears clearly from Theognis nomoi, laws/customs] 34 both of which had 30 Cp. SCHMID, Lit., IV, p. 458. 31 Eth. N. 1, 9, 1099 to 25, is in THEOGN., 255 256 (transl. Romagnoli). 32 Recall D. M. ROBINSON, Pindar a Poet of Eternal Ideas Baltimore, 1936. 33 Cp. SCHMID, Lit. tudes Paris, 1906, p. 21. 34 THEOGN., 291 292; cp. vv. 937 938. Citing Theognis, one disregards, in the present research, the matter of authenticity, importing only the testimony of a ce rtain current of thought. After all, it was


66 become the password of the common people 35 [542] Far richer is the concept of 36 to rise towards the Pan Hellenic idea, that Pindar heard from his earliest years, as appears in the tenth Pythian Ode of 498 BCE, and / that he continually affirmed 37 in conformit y, after all, with the spirit of Hellenic aristocratic families, that still at the time of Thucydides felt so connected to one other, in order to exceed the limits of the polis 38 Not surprisingly, then, in the domain of aristocratic ideas one encounters th e spiritual philanthropia, philanthropy/love of honor], destined to hold great importance in the Attic world 39 In the legislation of Charondas (around the middle of the sixth century), that was of aristocratic ch aracter 40 one notices 41 One must, then, re cognize a certain value to the T heogn idean testimonies, which exhort to forgive the errors of others 42 The social foundation of these ideas can be considered their distinguishin g note insofar as they implant themselves on the premise of a collective experience that becomes an abstract concept. The constitution of Charondas seems to offer ulterior proof with established law so that all the citizens would learn to read and write with paid teachers of OGNIS, Pomes lgiaques texte tabli et traduit pa r Jean Carrire, Paris, 1948, p. 13). 35 V. EHRENBERG, Rech t., p. 117 36 Cp. THEOGN., 761 ff., 755 ff.; PIND., frr. 109 110 = 120 Turyn. 37 G. CURTIUS, Storia greca (Italian transl.), II, p. 53; cp. GUNDERT, op. cit ., pp. 77, 85. 38 Cp. H. BERVE, Thukydides Frankfurt a. M., pp. 3 4, 41, 53; cp. U. WILAMOWITZ, Glaube II, p. 129. 39 Cp. G. GLOTZ, Solidarit de la famille dans le droit criminal en Grce Paris, 1904, p. 423. 40 E. CIACERI, Storia della Magna Grecia Milano ecc., Vol. II, 1927, p. 42. 41 DIOD., XII, 16, 1 2. For the historicity of the norm within the cited passage, cp. G. BUSOLT, Griechische Geschichte, Gota, 1893, I, p. 428. 42 THEOGN., 323 328.


67 the city 43 The measure corresponds perfectly to that of Lycurgus, / who had wanted an education of the state and not that of privates 44 he state and by the state; it was a principle in to agreement with the general tendency of aristocratic 45 The recognition seems granted, then, namely that in the aristocratic society there was a spi ritual structuring that brought to the definition of a collective entity, expressing the eternal and therefore ideal essence of man. epochs and all the locations, for the H ellenics of this age, makes up an element of great significance, [543] because it subsists as a creative force and, at a time, as limit: it is a point of inspiration for the thought that perceives the possibility of transferring it [the collective entity] in the domain of the universal; it [the collective entity] is nonetheless a restraint to the freedom of the individual, who wants to establish himself in absolute autonomy and originality of the person. The community appears, then, as a spiritual fact that awaits interpretation. 43 DIOD., XII, 112, 5; for the interpretation of the passage and for the plausibility of the informat ion, see Ciaceri, op. cit., II, pp. 42 44. 44 XEN, Resp. Lac. II, 2; PLUT., Lyc ,. 17. 45 J. LUCCIONI, Les ides politiques et socials d Xnophon Ophrys s. a. (ma 1948), p. 145. The character of Hellenic teaching, greatly less individualistic compared to the modern one, was elucidated very well by NESTLE, Eur. technique and therefore certain forms of representation constitute themselves, in which the individual does no t have to take on changes and can introduce very little of his individuality. . This is in relation with the fact that the Greek gives immense value to theoretical knowledge: that which was recognized as just, the form, in which the representation found a satisfactory expression, is conserved, and subsequently does not concern itself as much with new creations as with reproductions certainly surely perfected by an already


68 After all, one can observe that the aristocracy provided a decisive contribution, as evidenced by its religiosity, to the consciousness of the community, although it is a phenomenon, as will be shown later, / not limited to the ar istocracy. Well known is that t he god particularly close to Pindar was the Delphic oracle 46 the g od who, for the period under study the end of the sixth century and beginning of the fifth becomes the representative, through its oracle, of the conservati ve and antidemocratic currents 47 One comprehends how the Theban poet, interpreter of the political and ethical ideal of the aristocracy, was persuaded to impress the seal of Apollonism upon its entire thought 48 The god of Delphi always operated with an eye on peace among men and gods, attainable when the former act according to justice 49 so that the latter become ethical powers 50 However, next to this universalistic conception of religion, according to which the single gods have a tendency to become ethical concepts of all encompassing validity, one must note the Delphic idea of the hero 51 directed in the same sense. The interpretation that Pindar gives of it corresponds to the clarification of a religious idea, particularly widespread among Hellenics. The po et, proclaiming that the gods and men draw life and breath from the same mother ( Ne. VI, 1 ff .), does not signify anything other than that the gods are the archetypes of men, al though different. In the consciousness of the separation that intercedes betwe en the ideal world and its reflection in the perceivable kind, man the memory of his virtues. Not his person, but, what is more, the spirit of his perfections 46 Cp. L. R. FARNELL, The Works of Pindar London, 1932, II, p. 462. 47 Cp. C. LANZANI, Genoa etc., 1940, p. 36. 48 Op. cit. p. 38. 49 MARTIN P. NILSSON., Griech. Rel ., pp. 617 618. 50 M. POHLENZ, Der hellenische Mensh Gttingen, 1947, pp. 54 55. 51 Cp. LANZANI, op. cit ., pp. 16 17.


69 and crea tions wins death and from generation to generation flies eternally young in [544] singing, since only form belongs to the reign of the eternal 52 The figures of the winners that would represent a particular aspect of human life ; 53 so from this A pollonian 54 comes to be exal ted as an eternal value. That which counts for the men of the age of the poet, still enlightened by the aristocratic ideal, is true also for the heroes of myth 55 This perpetuity of the idea, by which the individual can perfect himself in the universality o f the type, since his immortal being will actualize in the eternal glory of the surname and, therefore, in his descendents 56 poems and to which he belongs, and of the families tha t we can say detain the power in all the Doric cities and even in Athens really govern public matters, at the time in which he spent the period of his studies 57 That universal that is the aristocratic parentage bloodline/patronage) / reveals itself as an idea, in which, moreover, hums the dichotomy felt in the Theognidian verses quoted above of the individual and of that community seen as a general entity But, in the spirituality of the political life of the aristocracy, the latter prevailed, for its nature brought to break every barrier and embrace 52 WALTER F. OTTO, Di e Gtter Griechenlands Bonn, 1929, p. 100; cp. GUNDERT, op. cit ., p. 59. 53 This point has been elucidated very clearly by FR. SCHWENN, Der junge Pindar Berlin, 1940, pp. 38, 49, 71. 54 JOL, Gesch. Phil ., p. 129; 135 136. 55 See for what can be observed, regarding the Pindaric Ajax, G. COPPOLA, I ntroduzione a Pindaro Rome, 1931, p. 72; cp. GUNDERT, op. cit ., pp. 52, 59 60. 56 U. WILAMOWITZ, Pindaros, Berlin, 1q922, p. 252 and previous pp. 57 WILAMOWITZ, Glaube II, p. 129.


70 multiplicity into unity 58 as is evident even by the inclination that this society demonstrated toward pan H ellenism. However, Pindar ( aidos, dike, justice), philanthropia omonia, harmony of mind/one mindedness) a nd others, with which one sought to hamper, by means of ideas, the indomitable natural complexity of experiences 59 perceives notwithstanding something crucial in the es sence of human personality. Man, perform the abil ity not exactly of seeming good, but of knowing how to impose being peira or experience) ( cp ., for example Ne ( ponos or effort) ( for example, Ol. XI, 4; Pyth ., [545] VIII, 73), so that he can, up against anything and depending on the various occasions, [ measure, due measure, proportion ] : cp Ol. XIII, 47 48; Pyth ., II, 24; Isth. VI, 71) 60 Therefore, one could arte, on of the poet, could not be enacted until it remained within the confines of the aristocratic world, since 61 This structuring of a huge social problem, which had for mulated itself as the antithesis community individual, whose terms interfere among each other with reciprocal critical aggressiveness, manifests itself truly definitively throughout the entire fifth 58 Rightly, S. MAZZARINO, Or. Occ be celebrated in the composite religious beauty of the polis 59 Cp. A. LABRIOLA, La concezione materialistic della storia, Bari, 1947, pp. 135 ff 60 Sofisti Excursus al cap. III. 61 GUNDERT, op. cit ., p. 79.


71 century, during which, the two moments, in the process of clarifying themselves to maintain their supremacy at the end of the dialectic scale of the real, struggle with evermore intense drama. Perhaps one may be surprised that the aristocratic world starts the dominant note of a civilization that of the fifth c entury which in Athens, where it must converge and centralize itself, takes on the character of a democratic light that often projects itself beyond the narrow confines of Attica. However, this appears completely logical. Only beginning in the age of Marat hon a new civilization slowly begins to form 62 one that has to create its own values and interpret the already existing ones. One cannot, of course, imagine that a world of original imprint can develop out of nothing, especially in Greece, that reached its most daring accomplishments rising above tradition. After all, through representatives such as Theognis and Pindar, it has been possible to ascertain the power of thought within a politically won social milieu. However, this is the typical way of defeat: to prompt violent reactionary comebacks, as occurred in Greece, there where the aristocracy managed to conserve itself 63 or to stir up fertile reflection. Not surprisingly, despite the innovative currents, the population was inclined to loyalty toward anci ent traditions and to recognize the superiority and the ability of the aristocracy as guides for the people 64 The idea of equality, despite its seductiveness did not appear commensurate to reality; the power [546] of capital, though significant, did not h ave the same value as 62 V. EHRENBERG, Ost und West 15]; Br nn etc., 1935, p. 122. 63 E. MAYER, Geschicte des Altertums IV, 1., Stuttgart, 1939, p. 399. 64 MEYER, op. cit ., p. 413.


72 time, even when its rights had been eliminated 65 One reached, then, a paradoxical situation, so that the aristocrats on one side became the hea ds of the democracy 66 while on the other they continued to operate as an official party and in secret societies 67 T he observation seems accurate, then, ousted aristocracy, but rather, on the contrary, feud alizes itself; that is to say that with its political advent it identifies itself with the full mindset and in all the forms of life of the ousted aristocracy. The new society is . aristocratic with an expanded circle of privileged individuals 68 The and expands itself from the aristocratic spirituality, in the experience of the democratic epoch. [ genos bloodline/patronage ] ) persists, despite the political decline of the aristocracy, but extends to the entir e physis is the primal e ssence of man. origin of a loses its significance 69 The universal condition replaces the universal Delphic and aristocratic ethics 70 65 MEYER, op. cit. pp. 529 530. 66 Cp. GLOTZ, Hist. gr., cit. p. 248 67 Cp. Croiset, Dm. Ant., cit ., pp. 193 194. 68 HASEBROEK, W. G ., p. 216; cp. pp. 185 186; 222; 232 233. 69 O. 118. 70 T. ZIELINSKI, Iresione Leopoli, 1936, II, pp. 98 99.


73 The upper classes and the political privileges, even under the influence of the Peloponnesian war, gradually disappear in favor of the vaster unity of the polis 71 The Athenian population feels that it constitutes a homogenous and therefore universal entity: it preoccupies itself with making prevail that which corresponds to the common utility 72 ave a fair amount of common sense; and, men of judgment being among these, under their influence act well and benefit thus to the city . But the individuals, taken each for himself, are not [547] able to judge righteously 73 To an historian, such as Ar istotle, both the universal value of community and the problem of the individual possibilities appear clear ly in the polis During the pentecontaetia and especially in the period in which Athens prepares to conquer its empire that only one w ill animates Athens foreign policy . The collective ambition of the 74 ; indi vidual protected by the constitution will have to fear the will of the state 75 The law is an expression of the collective reason 76 which gives it [the law] validity 77 and then again from it receives the mark of universality 78 For this reason, Thucydides o ften cites speeches of a community the Corinthians, the Corcyrians, the Athenians, the Melians, etc that are certainly not among the least important of his history 79 For Thucydides the 71 G. GLOTZ, Le travail dans la Grce ancienne Paris, 1920, pp. 204 205. 72 GLOTZ, Le travail, cit ., p. 179. 73 ARISTOT., Pol ., III, 1281 b 3 4 ff. (Transl. Constanzi). 74 GLOTZ, Hist. gr., II, p. 145. 75 Op. cit. p. 171. 76 CROISET, Dm. ant. p. 157. 77 Cp. THUC., VI, 14, 1. 78 Cp. HDT., VII, 104, 4. 79 Cp. W. NESTLE, Thukydides und die Sophistik, Griechsche Studien S tuttgart, 1948, pp. 341 and 350.


74 community is a physis 80 that suggests to its own activity a purpose with logic as much subjective as objective 81 and in which it finds exactly the guarantee of its own universality. Less vast collective entities establish themselves, such as are the activities of those who exercise a trade, the common voice of the many, and m any judges of the Elis, or Eleia, etc., within this community, fastened by a lively sense of universal religiosity 82 that no longer distinguishes between national gods and those of foreigners, as demonstrated also by the attitude of the Delphic oracle 83 I ends up toning down individualism 84 But the bitterness of the political struggles and the violence of the passions once again pose / the difficult problem of individualism that by another way, found a difficulty, a shadow laid by a universal idea to impede every autonomous gesture 85 The antithesis community individual represents itself in all of its urgency in the age of democracy. The war a particularly effective social phen omenon as stimulus of ideas (more on this later) at [548] the time of the Persian battles, presented the problem of the responsibility of the individual toward his / her people, without coming to an open contrast between state and individual; this [the ind ividual], even though truly odd, was rejected once again the universality of that [the state] 86 Nevertheless the individual 80 Op. cit., pp. 346 347. 81 Cp. V. PARETO, Compendio di sociologia generale Florence, 1920, § 71, p. 32. 82 Cp. F. PFISTER, Die Religion der Griechen und Rmer Leipzig, 1930, pp. 213 214. 83 Cp. T. ZIELINSKI, La religion de la Grce antique Paris, 1926, p. 93. 84 MEYER, op. cit IV, 1, p. 763 and WUNDT, op. cit ., p. 306. 85 See WUNDT, op. cit., pp. 311 312, and POHLENZ, Staat ., pp. 49 sg. 86 Cp. EHRENBERG, Ost. U. W., cit ., pp. 131, 135, 139.


75 existed in all of its original autonomy: I have already mentioned how all those men characteristic of the medical wars were problema tic 87 One feels the complexity of being human and, in the past, influenced by that universal which is the community of the polis one preferred submerging the individual in an intimate versatility but an almost anonymous one; a versatility that would be a general attribute of man. Aeschylus, for example, completely dominated by the idea of the polis is not interested in knowing and enabling others to know the name of the Hellenic hero or heroes that were glorious at Salamis, while he worries about emphasiz ing the power of human astuteness ( Pers., 355 ff polutropos, broadly a cunning person or one who knows many ways of expressing the same thing ], that, immediately after Homer, was felt as something specifically Hellenic, as 88 Therefore, / that which diminished by the socio political phenomenon which blocks the individual impulse stretched out toward a constructive freedom in order to absorb it in its own generic in the second half of the fifth century, Athenian democracy, in defense of the principle of equality, suspects pr ominent people 89 whose marked individualism comes to be aimed at by comic poets, such as Phrynichus and Aristophanes 90 If one then fixes his/her gaze on a few decisive moments of the Peloponnesian war, s/he will see that these [moments], for their universa l aspect, had to bring in the masses, absorbed by the monotony of a 87 Cp. also WUNDT., op. cit. p p. 150 153. 88 Cp. E. BETHE, Homer, Dichtung u. Sage Leipzig, 1927, III, pp. 38 39 and Ph. E. LEGRAND, Hrodote, Introduction Paris, 1932, pages 124 125. 89 NESTLE, V.M.z.L. p. 478. 90 Op. cit pp. 461 and 468.


76 problem, to the creation of collective states of mind that ended up concretizing themselves in typical characters. The plague of Athens raises from the mystery of consciousness the amoral selfish type; the facts of Corcyra identify the ambitious and unbridled passionate type; the episode of the vandalizing of the hermai delineates the superstitious type. In general, the game of personal interests, of [549] partisan or class grudges, breaks the moral unity of the homeland, which had been enacted at the time of the Persian wars 91 and creates those typical characters that, venting in impulses, halt the free conquest of the character. ssential manifestations of the aristocratic spirituality. We can specify and complete this historical element noting the way in which the more intense and exasperated the turmoil of the political conflict, the more easily it ends up in the creation of cert ain typical and characteristic figures. One can say that this corresponds to a necessary social law. If, in fact, it was observed, sociology suggests friendship and cooperation, which in effect take place in relationships between men; in reality, then, the good will the social and antisocial elements in the strict sense of the word unfortunately pertain to the st 92 Social life attracts, therefore, all the interest on human typology because through its aspects, the principal forces that act in the complex world of humanity define themselves. And, 91 92 HOBHOUSE, op. cit. 654 b and E. DUPREL, Sociologie gnrale Paris, 1948, p. 129.


7 7 specifically, these forces are dominated by the conflicting polarity of good and evil, which manifested itself particularly effectively in the Greece of the end of the century 93 In this way, from the social typology of the aristocratic environment 94 which formed out of the crash be tween good and evil (recall kakoi, agathoi, aristocrat] right in the political thought of Theognis and his fellow party members), one moves on to an analogous typology that had to define itself within the turmoil of the political stru ggles of the second half of the fifth century, without substantial / psychological and gnoseological differences, even if the historical terms had transformed themselves or even reversed compared to what had occurred during the course of the age of Theogni s. The intrusiveness of the social fact with its natural laws at the expense of the unrepeatable originality of the individual reflects itself remarkably precisely on the literary manifestations that place individuals as themes of their own representation. 95 ; an idea or a type in those of Sophocles ; 96 and something analogous for those in Euripides 97 so in this age the overall 93 See documentation in GLOTZ, Solidarit, cit ., pp. 423 424. 94 Take into consideration, for Theognidean typology so aristocratic rather, the intimate character of man, as determined by his ambitions and impulses (GUNDERT, op. cit. p. 116, note 86; cp. al so SCHWENN, op. cit. p. 193, note 154; THIMME, op. cit ., p. 28 29), but does not Der Charakter in der Sprache der frhgriechischen Dichtung Wrzburg, 1948, pp. 13 14, 19, 41 42. 95 A. MADDALENA, Interpretazione erodotee Padua, 1942, p. 49. 96 MARIO UNTERSTEINER, Sofocle Florence, 1935, pp. 622 ff. 97 W. ZRCHER, Die Darstellung des Menschen im Drama des Euripides, Basel, 1947 (cp., p. es., p. 87: see UNTERSTEINER, op. cit. (in the previous note), p. 618 ff.


78 concept of constitute it are identified 98 ess . of the entiations 99 However, the social experience, so urgent in such an age of wars and internal contrasts, did not grant the possibility of a corresponding and constructive close examination. The universal and the individual both misfire, so as to / have to tr uly conclude that the issues of spirituality according the aristocratic world are yes, clarified, but still not surpassed. B. Community and I ndividual in the T heories of the S ophists. The philosophy of the sophists can be considered as the speculative mi rror of these social forms of the human spirit, for which it demonstrates a particular historical sensibility and in front of which it creates a philosophic and systematic interpretation. One should take a look at the doctrine of Protagoras 100 : for this s op hist the persistent experience of the contradictions between type and individual, between universal man and particular man correspond to a fact which constitutes a problem that needs to be resolved urgently. He, always so sensitive to the social and politi cal phenomeno n, as is evidenced in his relations with Pericles, by his activity as legislator, 98 THIMME, op. cit. p. 116. 99 MONDOLFO Inf ., pp. 191 192. 100 Here I dogmatically summarize my interpretation of the thought of Protagora s (see, above, cap. III).


79 politike arte, political virtue], intended as virtue par excellence ends up establishing a dialectic of human gnoseolo gy gain for himself individually the knowableness of the real, which can also b e contradictory. This rift, which is always possible in the entanglement of phenomena and brings about immense differences between one individual and another, can be placated, by means of a release of the relativistic phenomenalism of the individual. This occurs when the wise person succeeds in transforming experiences lacking in / value for the individual into others that result and are endowed with value 101 since he knows how to ge 102 This wise person who, depending on the case, can be a physician, farmer, orator, sophist, etc., because he provokes such a gnoseological process, becomes the representative of that interest of the community 103 sum of individuals of a certain category, that finds itself unified, gnoseologically speaking, by a coincidence of relative knowableness of a determinate experience. Therefore, only collective man, man in general is able to perfect the knowableness of the experiences in the interest of the single individual. Hence, in the evolution of civilization, the condition of perfection is reached when the life of the polis dike, [ aidos, respect] 101 Cp. PLAT., Theaet. 166 C 167 D: cp. dK 80 A 21 a. 102 ARISTOT., Rhet., B 24 1402 a 23 = DK 103 PLAT., Theaet. edition, I received the new volume of E. DUPREL, Les sophists Neuchtel, 1948 49. The work, printed on Octo ber 31 1949 (cp. p. 408), was in typesetting from 1948 (cp. frontispizio). Therefore, this work and mine around it are independent of each other. I note only that, to be useful to the ends of my present research, which Duprel, by other way and with a dif ferent critical method than mine, reaches an identical representation of the sociological collectivist of the gnoseology of Protagoras: see what Duprel says especially pp. 23, 27, 28, 35, 38, 43, 53, 56, 57.


80 (ethical motivations also of the aristocratic spirituality!) 104 which consists of the politke arte, political virtue] and that reduces to unity the single individuals. Therefore, all the manifestations of life, for Protagoras, are constrained in the pattern of a universal leveling concept. A s for the aristocratic situation transformed by the contemporary socio political activity, Protagoras innovates because he reduces to an organic system that which was earlier a compound of scattered and instinctive experiences 105 translating into a philoso Regarding or About Loss ]) that which /was a social phenomenon: the annihilation of the individual interest into the collective one 106 One can say that the philosophic and rationalis tic idea of community constitutes [ omonoia like Antiphon and th at of Hippias, even more profound in th e theorizing of the unity of [ koinoi nomoi common traditions/laws] 107 ; the conception of the laws as universal fact and, therefore, identical for everyone, evident in the moment in which the individual physis recognizes itself an essential and a universal physis 108 according to the author of 104 PLAT, Prot., 320 C 322 D = DK 80 C 1. 105 The coherence, dialectically constructed, of the Protagorean system may more fully emerge from the whole chapter regarding Protagoras more than from the present ideas. 106 Cp. PARETO, op. cit. § 572, p. 241; see also § 253, p. 119. 107 An. Iambl ., 7, 15 (= DK 8 9). The Anonymus Iamblichi is to be identified with Hippias; see MARIO UNTERSTEINER, An. I. Accepting my interpretation C. DEL GRANDE Hybris Naples 1947, p. 524. 108 For all this, see Sophists ch. XVIII, § 5.


81 the anonymous treatise [ About Traditions/Laws/Customs ]. 109 This rationalistic solution, naturally, had to have been in co nflict with all the difficulties that universal concepts entail and, given its origin, against the reality that did let itself be reduced to such a conceptual uniformity: this is perceived particularly by Lycophron, who had to have reliably critiqued the i dea so as to disown every possible ethics; therefore the collective unity of men is an ideal, more than a reality 110 Similarly, for sophistry the individual appears as a type rather than an individual / passable to infinite differentiations: therefore sop histry deals with typical characterology that, in reality, is always a manifestation of the universal: the ambitious 111 the envious 112 the slanderer 113 etc. And particularly notewort h y is the fact that Hippias, who seems to have deliberately confronted the pr oblem of character 114 has been able to disentangle it from the constant and dialectical polarity of good and evil 115 as after all does Prodicus, whose Heracles forms himself spiritually between the contrast of the opposite tendencies of good and evil 116 Of pa rticular importance, the circumstance that the genetic process of the character type according to the two sophists is provoked precisely by that antithesis good and evil, from whose turmoil, even if under a distinctly political type, had sprouted the typol ogy of the aristocratic spirituality. 109 This treatise was recovered in [Dem.] XXV, by POHLENZ, An .; the text, now, in Sof. T. F. III, 11, pp. 192 207. 110 ARIST., fr. 91 Rose (STOB., Flor ., IV, 29, p. 710 h.) = DK 83, 4. For the interpretation, see: Sophists ch. XVIII, § 3. 111 UNTERSTEINER, Sophists ch. II, § 2 C. 112 In Hippias: STOB., III, 38, 32 (= DK 86 B 16). 113 In Hippias: STOB., III, 42, 10 (= DK 86 B 17). 114 Cp. UNTERSTEINER, Teofr. E Ipp. B 19a, pp. 92 97. 115 Cp. PLAT., Hipp. Mag. 295 B C; 295 E; 296 D and [Theophr.] P roem. Ad Char. 2 3 (for the belonging to Hippias of this preface, cp. the article cited in the previous note). The text, now, in Sof. T. F. III. 116 Cp. CHIAPPELLI, Sof ., pp. 241 242.


82 Nevertheless, one can say, for all s ophists it is the will factor that determines the character of the individual. Of course, this [will factor] happens in the most disparate ways: according to Protagoras the greater [ kreitton logos stronger/better argument], shapes, with an act of universal will, the ethical values for human community; for Gorgias the moment of decision confirms the [553] culminating point of individual a ction; the same is to be said for Prodicus; Critias, imposes social ethicality upon the universality of the law, which conforms to its will. In the clash between the most c ontrasting solutions one is the presence of the will, of which political life had sensed the effectiveness, but it is also an arduous and insoluble problem: necessary for the setting up of the universal, both in the name of a community and in the name of t he individual, it is nevertheless problematic. Gorgias gave rigorous proof of it. A fundamental attitude of aristocratic thought w hich hinges on the problem of a fluctuating community individual alternative and, therefore, upon the typical characterology of the individual, owing to his persistence in the social and political praxis had to dominate speculative thought. Sophistry welcomed it and created a universal concept, whose abstraction is not transcendent as Platonic idealism will become for example b ut inspired by a social and political experience; and, moreover, represented those single human attitudes, valid as typical and immutable paradigms for individuals who, in order to operate in social life, have to define themselves according to characterist ic s that are readily recognizable and, therefore, schematic.


83 C. The R elativistic E xperience of A ristocratic S ociety in the Effort for the R econstruction of Proper I deals Other characteristic influences have been established by the complex experience of the aristocratic society on the formation of sophistry which derived singular aspects from them. It is well known that one of the attitudes of thought that give s a tone of uniformity to sophistry can be recognized in the relativistic dissolution of value s. Th e age of Hellenic humanism arrived at such a conclusion following many routes: not last among these was the experience of travelers who, comparing / Hellenic folk customs and laws with those of Barbarians (the most sensational and significant is the one narrated by Herodotus III 38), could not infer anything other than that which had been believed eternal, indestructible due to the power of a safe tradition, in reality lost value in any other environment: Herodotus and the logographers present numerou s facts that bring us to this necessary observation. But such an influence, though crucial, interests us less because it is a prevalent cultural fact, imposed from above, rather than sprung from the immediate power of a social phenomenon. The tragedy of t he aristocracy, which, at the time of its decline, does not give up believing and proclaiming its ideals, makes clear, for an internal impetus, that relativism which, at first glance, seems so contradictory with the persistent traditionalism of this societ y. The social events resulted in catastrophes, felt to be serious in the judgment of the interested interpreter, had to have appeared even to Pindar, representative of the


84 tremen dum 117 things from the good: mixing with sad people | you will remain bereft of judgment that ton eonta noon the true/existing mi nd the wisdom one has ] 118 nous mind/intent], that is reason 119 becomes eon, existing/real/true], consistent and absolute: the advent of the new democratic ord er will 120 [ oute kako n gnomas eidotes out agathon, knowing neither the opinions of neither evil nor good men]) 121 : we no longer have a rational possib ility of determining the truth of things in the domain of political experience, as Pindar also states 122 kakos ta dikaia nomisdein to think about just things faultily] 123 The positive law does not have, therefore, any value: this is the desperate but not completely disinterested conclusion of the aristocratic world. 117 G. RUDBERG, Zu Pindaros Religion, hat cites Pindar, Pae ., IX, 15 (fr. 51 Turyn). 118 THEOGN., 35 36 (transl. Romagnoli). 119 Nus als Terminus 120 Paid ., I, p. 309) and ibid., note 1); cp., also B. SNELL, Die Ausdrche fr den Begriff des Wissens in der vorplatonischen Philosophie Berlin, 1934, p. 34; cp. THEOGN. p, 319. However, more exactly understood by NESTLE, Kr ., p. 179 (= Griechische Studien p. 291), who identifies, for Crit Lit. compared to the inferior one obtained by way of the senses. 121 THEOGN., 60 (tr ansl. Romagnoli). 122 Cp. W. SCHADEWALDT, Der Aufbau des pindarischen Epinikioin Schriften der Knigsb. Gel. 123 THEOGN., 279.


85 The consequences of this theoretical position developed in two ways. One should remember that law, that nomos, law/custom/tradition], on whose power the democratic war against the Persians had hinged, that met the proudest [555] oppositions of the aristocratic world. So, this very world casts doubt in regards to the validity of the new law rising from the ruins of its class. Thus expressing its thinking the aristocracy, in order to devalue the democratic nomos was preparing the way to renewed possible attacks, which actually, by a return of an oligarchic flame, exploded in Athe ns in 411 and at the time of the thirty tyrants. The aristocrats had made the law under their will, because / from time to time, under the pressure of circumstances, they had molded it according to their immediate and selfish necessities 124 though claiming that it was the expression of divine will 125 Now, complying in its own way to every reactionary movement, the aristocracy tend to use the arms of the adversary for their own aims: the law, mutable by approval of the popular assembly had to actually favor th e notorious pluralism of Attic law 126 But this, in reality, could coincide, because its sanction was different, with pluralism arbitrary as it was of the aristocratic regimes. Those who had belonged or still belonged to it waited for nothing other than the propitious occasion to be able to impose, even in the new era, now one law then another. Within the passion of this spiritual turmoil the famous verses of Pindar take on a very definite sense, in my 127 [ nomos, law/custom/tradition]), | the king of all |of mortals and 124 Cp. G. GLOTZ, La cit grecque Paris, 1928, pp. 108 ff. 125 GLOTZ, op. cit. p. 123. 126 Cp. U. E. PA OLI, Stud sul processo attico, Padua, 1933, pp. 15 ff., 19 ff. See also R. HIRZEL, Nomos pp. 42 44. 127 Everyone knows that a meaning of nomos approved by everyone has not been reached at this point. Usually, one see nomos next to justice, the power also manifests itself: cp. HES., Opp ., 276 ff.,


86 immortals | carries everything with a sovereign | hand, justifying the extreme violence 128 The relativism of the customs 129 and, therefore, of the laws inherent within them, can be accepted, Pindar seems to say, since contemporary revolutions confirm it 130 on the condition that, under this instability, one always recognizes the divine 131 : Pindar transfers that relativism of the laws, which Theognis had denounced, in vexation within the new democratic order, to the aristocratic spiri tuality, without full awareness of the use that would have been made of it, in the second half of the century. But in the meantime that aristocracy that had suffered the damage of the new concept of the law contributes to deepen ing the criticism of the law in abstract, independently of its aristocratic or democratic foundation. It will not seem [556] odd then, that, exactly in the aristocratic Critias, one can encounter a felt sensitivity for the rifts of the law 132 The discovery of the relativism of the l aw, so acutely sensed and accentuated by the aristocratic, brought an ulterior consequence. In fact, if a law is mutable within a population and variable from population to population, a / foundation of that ethics, which human conscience postulates as imm utable, became elusive 133 So, to fulfill this SOLO fr. 24, 16 ff. D. (K. KERNYI, La religion antic a nelle sue line fondamentali, Bologna, 1940, pp. 69 70; analogously, EHRENBERG, Recht ., p. 120; GUNDERT, op. cit pp. 49 50; STIER, Nomos pp. 229 230, 238 etc.). In reality, the exact interpretation is the recent one of M. POHLENZ, Nomos Sophists ch. XV, § 3, note 30. 128 PIND., fr. 169 Schroeder = 187 Turyn (transl. Romagnoli). 129 Cp. PIND., fr. 215 = 188 T. Bear in mind that, probably, in this fr. Pindar does not actually relate to the consequenc fact of the reaction, after the Persian wars, on the part of the smallest cities that demanded their autonomy against the large hegemonies, Athens and Sparta (c p. also THUC., V, 18) (HIRZEL, Nomos p. 54). So another social motivation, concomitant with the aristocratic one, gives origin to the relativism of the laws. 130 U. WILAMOWITZ, Pindaros Berlin, 1922, p. 462. 131 This appears clearly in PIND., Pyth ., II, 86 ff. (cp. HEINIMANN, N. u. Ph. p. 71) and especially comparing fr. 169 (187) with fr. 81 (= 88 T.): see MENZEL, Hell ., pp. 116 118. 132 Cp. Sophists ch. XVIII, § 4. 133 Cp. NILSSON, Gr. Rel ., I, p. 391.


87 sacred aristocratic laws 134 as much as with an extension, favored by the cosmopolitanism of the aristocracy those laws that are valid for all the people, founded on the universality of nature. Once again, the refuge of the aristocracy against the written laws transforms itself from the start for a revolutionary interpretation of these unwritten laws, to which conservatism attac hes itself, as appears clearly in Spartan activity 135 The problem formulated according to the aristocratic need for salvation, by necessity had to be often recovered, with variously nuanced interpretations, by s ophistry itself, as attest the doctrines of Pr otagoras, Gorgias, Hippias, and Antiphon 136 Among the way s in which s ophistry had the chance to materialize, one should not [ patrios po liteia, inherited/ancestral polity or constitution]), that is welcomed by Thrasymachus 137 and that is proclaimed as absolutely valid, by virtue of that divine nature guaranteed by the goodness demonstrated over the course of time 138 With this recent constitu tional formula, the Sophistic age, in its moments of spiritual return / to the aristocratic world translates, according an antidemocratic politico social plan 139 the ancient idea of the unwritten law. 134 [LYS] or 6, 10; cp. THUC., II, 37, 2. 135 The elements of these notations are drawn from HIRZEL, Nomos, passim but especially pp. 21, 23, 28, 43 44, 48, 71 72; I notice that the particular tone in the interpretation of this material is mine. Cp. also A. BANFI, Socrate Milan, 1944, p. 7. 136 For more details, s ee the Sophists. 137 DION. HAL., Dem ., 3, p. 134, 9 (= DK 85 B 1). 138 HIRZEL, Th. pp. 361 362, and Nomos p. 75. 139 op. cit ., I, p. 324; NESTLE, Weltansh ., p. 99; GLOTZ, Cit cit., p. 73 and Hist. gr. cit ., II, p. 718. After all, also the Attic comedians, as conservative as they are, aspire to this very ideal: cp. SCHMID, Lit ., IV, pp. 19, 29, 30, note 8, 33


88 The relativism and the attempts to resolve it in a spir itual manifestation, free of disagreements, find their primordial patterns in the anguish of readjustment of the aristocratic conscience and ideals 140 [557] D. The A porias of the A ristocrats in the Problem of the Teachability of V irtue. Among the most dem anding problems of the sophistic age one should remember t hat of the possibility of teach ing virtue. One can say that such a question had also been posed by the aristocracy in the moment of its crisis. Of course, the possibility of teaching virtue opposes itself anti 141 more than once proclaims: an explicit polemic against this conception becomes noticeable in Hippias 142 However, despite the profound conviction that natural endowments constit ute that which is decisive in the teachings of virtue, nevertheless under the blow of reality, on one hand one recognizes that the company of wicked people may bring the moral ruin 143 on the other that education does not manage to render people wise 144 : the a ristocratic, viewing the dispersion of the educational values that / were dear to him, ends up noticing that good natures easily becomes evil as much as that it is not 140 Now MAZZARINO, Pens. st. pp. 324 325, reaches, by other means, the same conclusions contradictions of Greek historical thought. . ., in one way, . are truly the most consistent and innate characteristic of the aristocratic intellectualism of the Greeks. If there are two contrasted Dikai (as Aeschylus also thought: Choeph ., 46 aristocratic Hellenism is somewhat in these aporias of pure reason, which made a miracle possible: that the aristocratic culture elaborated, that is, the same doctrine of democracy and progres s but also made 141 PIND., Ol., IX, 100, Pyth. I, 41 ff., ne. III, 40 etc. 142 An. Iambl ., I, 1 ff. (DK 89) to be identified with Hippias; cp. UNTERSTEINER, An. I. 143 THEOGN., 35 36; cp. 305 308. 144 THEOG N., 429 ff. For the interpretation of the passage cp. W. NESTLE, Euripides Stuttgart, 1901, p. 175. See PIND. Ol. VII, 30 ff.


89 possible to educate those who lack strong and natural ethical bases 145 : so one can see, in terms of education, the most contradictory results 146 The undermining in the assessment of the social classes is such that the aristocratic feels dragged into doubting the bases of arte, excellence/virtue ], placing in this way an authentic dramatic agony the problem of its teachability, even if t hen one does not want to admit its possibility, since, in the case of its occurring imposed after all by the new history to the reluctant aristocrats the aristocracy would have had to renounce its own conception of it 147 The political drama of an entire society becomes a tough gnoseological problem in the mind of the s ophists 148 But one should not forget that, nevertheless, this sophistic education presupposes the development of individual qualities rather than those inherited 149 applied to the leaders above all, rather than the population at large, since the old aristocratic problem returns under new guise 150 as in general the type of 151 The social rather than cultural urgency of the educational [558] problem naturally determined a conflict between / an aristocratic education and a political democratic conception, which was one of the determining causes of the contrast between nomos and physis 152 whose theo retical roots had already been perceived by Pindar 153 145 THEOGN., 577 578. 146 THEOGN., 161 164. 147 Cp. THIMME, op. cit ., p. 74; cp. p. 117. 148 For the respective doctrines of the sop hists, Protagoras, Prodicus, and Hippias, cp. Sophists ch. III, § 3, 3; ch. XI; ch. XV, § 7; ch. XVI, § 2 (end). For the opposite thesis of Gorgias, cp. ch. VII, § 5. 149 Cp. CHIAPPELLI, Sof. pp. 362 ff. and LOENEN, Prot ., p. 47. 150 JAEGER, Paid ., I, pp. 43 0 431; also cp. E. MAIER, Socrate (Ital. transl.), Florence, 1943, I, p. 257. 151 Cp. MARROU, d ., 70 71. 152 JAEGER, Paid ., I, pp. 452. 153 E. SCHWARTZ, in FRIEDLNDER, Pl. I, p. 330, note 2, p. 101, note 1.


90 E. Influence of the A ristoc ratic Crisis on the Constitutional Conceptions of S ophistry. Seemingly surprising, the numerous ideas of the social drama of the aristocracy placed before the speculative thou ght, which, almost without noticing, is under the stimulus of a world that is politically overcome 154 and that, however, forms itself according to original and necessarily ambivalent shapes. In fact it draws its meaning from a problematic given by the loss o f a disintegration that does not want to crystallize as it is forced to travel many roads for the regeneration. The aristocracy gave sophistry not only the themes that its own social drama postulated but also the themes of thought already elaborated by a p articular social, political, and philosophical experience at one time. Numerous influences come from Pythagoreanism 155 whose politics was definitely aristocratic 156 One will more easily comprehend the reasons for these relationships between Pythagoreanism an d sophistry, to which Augusto Rostagni has already called attention in a decisive study 157 Therefore, the anomaly that had troubled due to the contradictory presence of sophists with oligarchic tendencies right next to those flatly democratic, so that a con siderable confusion and entanglement of ideas came to be, with the further aggravating circumstances that one can encounter conservative oligarchs and enlightened oligarchs, 154 in the very art of speech that is gracefully expressed has been determined, at least in part, by an aristocratic influence: see how Theognis (305 308) perceives the power that speech has of seizing what is relative in good and evil. Pindar feels the effec tiveness of speech dominated by the fascination of art, which never fails and that, therefore, has a superior value to that of action ( Ne op. cit ., p. 110, note Isth Ne ., VI, 47) proper of the aristocratic world. 155 Cp. UNTERSTEINER, Sophists, passim (cp. Index s.v. : Pythagoreanism). 156 Cp. ZELL. MOND., I, pp. 413 414 (note). See also WUNDT, op. cit ., pp. 14 2 ff. 157 A. ROSTAGNI, N. C. pp. 148 201.


91 capable, overall, to demonstrate a truly effective freedom of spirit and a rationa listic attitude will lose all its strangeness 158 If sophistic speculation exercises its precise influence on the oligarchic aristocratic constitution of 411 159 and on the thirty tyrants, one must, in the opposite direction, remember just how driven the enligh tenment of the same aristocrats must have been [559], as evidenced by the attitude of an Aristophanes 160 or a Critias vis vis religion. All the constitutional drama of the second half of the fifth century is dictated by the very power of the political aris tocratic ethos 161 so sophistry, in the ambivalence of values that it more or less proclaims through its representatives, suffers an enigmatic agony of the polarities tyranny (or aristocracy) democracy 162 ; therefore, especially the more recent s ophists fluctua te between one and the other of these two political conceptions 163 The attack of a democratic Cleon against the minds, which govern the state less well compared to bunglers 164 was launched, in reality, against s ophistry and is entirely understandable if one bears in mind the complex and solid substance that this current of thought found itself placed opposite the aristocratic civilization almost naturally. 158 MEYER, op. cit. p. 416. 159 WILAMOWITZ, A. u. A. II, p. 116; cp. NESTLE, Weltansh ., p. 118, and FRISCH, ps. Xen ., pp. 127 ff. 160 NESTLE, Weltansh ., p. 116. 161 Cp. JOHANNA SCHMIDT, Ethos Borna Leipzig, 1941, pp. 109 ff. 162 Cp. JOL, Gesch. Phil. pp. 699 700. 163 SCHMID, Lit ., III, p. 211. 164 THUC., III, 37 : cp. also SCHMID, Lit ., V, p. 84.

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92 3. Origins of S ophistic P roblems in the P olitical Wars of the Fifth C entury. The themes of the polit ical and social life can be said to have been founded by the drama of the aristocracy, insofar as it has to set certain goals for itself in regards to the problem of a law to recognize the citizens, one that did not always flow logically from the tradition s of that society 165 Naturally, original possibilities remain influenced by the new forms that constitute themselves from past turmoil. The problem of the individual was urgent in an era of political struggles and revolutions, that offer a clear path to t he ingeniousness ready for a complete development, also because the choice of a party requires an analysis of reasons that justify an autonomous decision 166 thumos, emotional impulses], that is the drive to independence, as recognize by Hippocrates in the De aere acquis et logicis 167 / The individual element, even if constrained in the limits already clarified, take s part with a constructive awareness [560] (one should remember, rather, the resigned disdain of Hesiod) in the face of a problem of the state: the favored form of constitut ion is that which most benefits, and the criterion of the useful may lead even to t he indifference toward the subject 168 : one can, therefore, foresee, through these current ideas in Athens in the last ten years of the fifth century and the first few years of the century ertain self 165 On the problem of the crisis of the aristocracy, see the important pages of S. MAZZARINO, Or. occ. pp. 233 ff. 166 Cp. MEYER, o p. cit. pp. 399 ff 415, 522. 167 Ch. XVI XVII: cp. M. POHLENZ, Hippokrates Berlin, 1938, pp. 17 18; 23 24. 168 Cp. Lys ., 25, 8; 31, 7.

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93 in a way that it appears reduced to economy 169 Therefore the constitutional problem is an outcome of social life; the interest of everyone, consequently, turns to this for the practical repercussions that concern the individual citize ns. The practical and theoretical sensibility for the value of the constitutions had been aroused following a compound of concomitant phenomena. Notably, especially in the aristocratic environment, which needs to position itself within the political renew al, the constitutional problem stands out, almost under the scourge of an irritating agony: one might think of Pindar, a convinced aristocrat but who, at one time, was judged by the public opinion of his fellow citizens as a friend of the tyrants, while ne xt to Hieron was accused of conflicting with them [the tyrants] 170 The episode goes beyond the person of the poet: it especially means that clear ideas are still missing regarding the constitutional problem. Only at the dawn of the democracy of Cleisthenes which settled once and for all isonomia, equal application of customs/law] 171 the notion / of constitution began to define itself in its possible varieties 172 when from the appeased contradictions one reached the transition towar d new forms 173 But these constitutional forms, finally defined, did not immediately pose the specific problem of political programs and parties 174 In fact, immediately following the ordeal of the Persian wars, which functioned as a barrier against every cent rifugal force, the Athenian democracy, only once that the already problematic but nevertheless dominant figures of Themistocles 169 LABRIOLA, op. cit. p. 222. 170 Cp. GUNDERT, op. cit 83 84. 171 HIRZEL, Th ., pp. 248 ff.; cp. SCHAEFER, op. cit. p. 116. 172 Cp. MAZZARINO, Or. Occ. pp. 200, 234. 173 Cp. LABRIOLA, op. cit. p. 196; cp. p. 209. 174 EHRENBERG, Ost. e tc. cit ., p. 115

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94 of the fourth century 175 This situation, that went maturing and provoked upheavals [561] or concerns in the social environment, had to set, in peremptory terms, the problem of the relativism of government forms: what is each type of constitution worth? Sh ould one return to the idealized constitution of the father or build one conforming to the postulates of reason? The political struggles intensified: the contrast of factions causes the necessity for political doctrines and, in the conflict between the two the practical insolubility concerning the problem of the best form of government 176 ends up being felt: the concept of profit dispels every theoretical essentialness inherent in any constitution 177 All the controversies that, starting at the time of the Pel oponnesian War, were raised around the / problem of the forms of constitution 178 both in terms of their essence and in relation to their genesis, have always been imposed by a condition of social life, that the serious external events had rendered particula rly delicate. If the s ophists place the study of the political fact, of the validity of laws, of the significance of constitutions, as unavoidable, this is due to the constitutional drama of Athens that, after the victory over Persia, had broadened the pla y of forces that moved its destiny. The incursion of new exigencies for example, maritime politics 179 seems to contribute in constituting, almost as though it were a natural organization, a particular type of government. The author of Constitution of Athenia ns when, despite hating democracy, discovers its 175 cit ., p. 410; cp. pp. 416 417. 176 Cp. MEYER, op. cit ., pp. 522; 757; 758 759. 177 Thus results also in THUC., VIII, 48, 5. 178 Cp. NESTLE, Weltansch ., p. 123. 179 Cp. [Xen.] ., I, 11.

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95 coherence, founded on effective reality, resolves a political event in a phenomenon of social origin. Sociality, then, insofar as it becomes a decisive factor that is pressing on the consciousnesses, even t hough they did not have, at the time, full awareness, became a political fact, that solicits a practice as much as a theory. If, then, the s ophists not only theorize upon the forms of government, in keeping with the demands of the social turmoil but also g ive answers in contrast among themselves, this creates an implicit proof that reality is contradictory: otherwise an identical intention would not have reached opposite conclusions. The [562] play of political factions relativizes in time and space, the concept of truth and error 180 ; so the struggle between Hellenics and Hellenics is seen in the dazzling light of its absurdity in the Lysistrata of Aristophanes and in the The Phoenician Women (also known by the Greek title, Phoenissae) of Euripedes ( cp v s. 535 ff .). / 4. The W ar The problem of utility determines clearly by now the meaning of the war 181 so with good reason one could say that, for the first time, during the Peloponnesian War, the economy constituted the generative power for this social phenom enon 182 and, we can add, from this was reduced to an acute state: it became a matter suffered by all and, therefore, to interpret. Sophistry that, for the most part, carried out its activity during this dramatic historical period, could not fail to notice th e influence caused by the social life in its 180 Cp. PARETO, op. cit. § 609, p. 265. 181 Cp. TH UC., VII, 57, 1. 182 DE SANCTIS, St. gr. cit. II, p. 198.

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96 pathologic event of an armed conflict. And the problem attracted the attention of the sophists even more insofar as, for the most part, they were opposed to wars 183 When human conduct must feel determined by pro fit, then sooner or later it will become aware of becoming problematic, due to the relativism that the concept easily entails, and this occurs every time that it is of an economic sort. But utility is not the only origin for the dissolution of value caused by wars. Th at justice, which, before the Persian wars, was founded on control over oneself , 184 begins to lose that / foundation which resulted from the political spirituality of the aristocrats 185 after the great national ordeal. I have already re evoked, at the beginning of this inquiry, the problematic nature of the great political figures of the era, who operate according to criteria fleeting the traditional norms of right and wrong: this means that the war had [563] cast the premises for a reversal of values, so the ancient principles found themselves destined to the unavoidable doubts of a cour ageous discussion. The struggles of the parties had become a power that acted harshly in the internal politics and international relations, entailing that play of interests, which ended up coming to the formulation of new ideas. A little at a time these co ntrasts became more acute and, during the new war of the Peloponnesian, reached a spasm. This [circumstance] occurred especially in the Attica where the events of the military operations, as appears even in Aristophanes, created the clash between the inhab itants of the countryside, particularly 183 Cp. Sophists ch. XIII, note 138 (Antiphon); chapter XV, § 8 (for Hippias): an. Iambl ., 7, 6, and 10, DK 89); ch. XVIII, § 7 (Alcidamas). 184 U. E. PAOLI, Studi sul process attico Padua, 1933, pp. 35 37. 185 The inferences of Paoli (cp. previous note) depend above all on Solon and Theognis.

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97 damaged by the war, and the inhabitants of the city: the former being conservatives while the latter progressives, were equally pushed by the bitterness of the war to radical positions: therefore the war can be consi dered responsible for that spirit of class and of party 186 that had to lead to necessary opposite political theories, of which the s ophists made themselves representatives. The most immediate almost abstract contrast between laws and laws, uses and uses, dra matized itself in a social reality where the antithesis appears as the fundamental norm of everything and is brought to an exacerbated evidence of the narrow space of the polis 187 favorable terrain to pinpoint opposites and indicate their incompatibility. / This class war that had inevitably exploded within the aristocratic regimes 188 had brought, with Pericles, to the triumph of the proletariat 189 which had to provoke even the most paradoxical reactions within the adversaries 190 In these conditions of high soci al tension that stirred itself on the axis of an unstable equilibrium, the theory presented itself spontaneously until reaching the ideal of Antiphon, who wanted the class wars to be appeased and abolished and also the clash between lineages to be eliminat ed, as the fatal one between the Hellenics and the barbarians 191 Therefore this anxiety of the universal, that reaches cosmopolitanism, seems to flow from the dramatic anguish of the war of the Peloponnesian. The cosmopolitanism, which is in the very nature of s ophistic mindset and that was theorized especially by Hippias and Antiphon, illustrates, due to the social demands of the Hellenics, a [564] very complex moment, to the point that not all the s ophists could 186 POHLENZ, Der. hell. M. cit., p. 118. 187 KAERST, Hell. pp. 31, 34 ff. 188 Cp. PLAT., Resp ., vIII, 551 D. 189 DE SANCTIS, cit. p. 421 ff. 190 Cp. Xen., Conv ., IV, 30 ff. 191 DK 87 B 44 I B, 1, 35; 2, 1 ff.

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98 comprehend its greatness 192 The antithesis He llenics Barbarians, which emerged with the founding of the empire of Darius 193 had materialized with the Persian wars (490 479), definitely not earlier 194 and a political problem had come with it, that is the opposition of tyranny, subjugated by Persia, and Hellenic democracy 195 One can see, then, / how in Antiphon, under examination of the law that did not respond to the isonomia, equality before the law] where the contrasts were overcome without any remainder, the problem of cosmopolitanism had to insert itself: the s ophist seems to say that exactly instead of causing the opposition Hellenics Barbarians, as had actually occurred, had the order to recreate the spontaneous physi s that, in human terms and universal sociality, is actually called cosmopolitanism. A particular situation that had matured in the conscience of the Hellenic people, even with the contention of other social facts Hellenics especially in foreign lands 196 the society of the Metics, who caused a lively exchange of ideas 197 the internationalism and the lack of concern for class differences, in the Eleusina religion 198 the Delphic tolerance in front of foreign cults 199 had t o raise a koine, common/shared/general] cultural 192 See, for example, the manner of Thrasymachus; CLEM., Strom ., VI, 16 [II, 435, 16 St.] = DK 85 8 2: cp. Sophists ch. XVIII, § 2. 193 MAZZARINO, Or. Occ. pp. 67, 69, 72 73, 81, 84, 99 100. 194 MAZZARINO, Or. Occ. pp. 50, 51, 183 184, 186; EHRENBERG, Ost. etc., cit., pp. 102, 102 103, 111, 126, 128 129, 132. 195 Cp. EHRENBERG, Ost etc. cit., pp. 109 and 111; MAZZARINO, Or Occ. pp. 233. 237, 244, 246. 196 ZELL. MOND., I, p. 3 18. 197 GLOTZ, Hist. gr. cit. II, pp. 256 and 338. 198 NILSSON, Gr. Rel ., I, p. 631. 199 Op. cit ., p. 597.

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99 micrasiatic owed to the collaboration of Greeks and non Greeks in the age of Aoidoi and in that which followed until Darius 200 koine, common/general/ shared], relived now as a new problem put forth by the social conditions caused by the Peloponnesian war which, exacerbating the class war, strive s for the internal pacification and, consequently, the external one (one might think of the relationships whic h, during the war, on both sides were tied with the / Persia itself), sets itself up as a great idea that found its practical implementation as a consequence to the feat of Alexander 201 However, the problem of the Hellenic Barbarian antithesis is to be tho ught [565] as dramatic in the cultural and social world of the whole fifth century, even if the demands of patriotism have lifted an uproar that rendered scarcely audible contrary voices. Nevertheless, when one re listens to The Persians of Aeschylus, that from the clash have also offered an exact political and not racial interpretation, one will obtain the certainty that for an enlightened Greek such as Aeschylus, precursor of the s ophistic dissoi logos double argument /double logic ] 202 Europe and Asia are a unit established by nature. But this union, in order to become true, requires the renunciation of the freedom of the individual 203 One may, then, say that the cosmopo litanism that became a theoretical fact in the age of the sophists, who were determined by the social imperative of the class war, answered a problem that extended back to the time of the Persian wars. While the Hellenic patriotism celebrated its triumph, so much that in The Persians one can still hear the clear ring, in the same tragedy and before the Athenian 200 MAZZARINO, Or. Occ ., pp. 86 87. 201 Cp. EHRENBERG, Ost ecc. cit., pp. 28 29. 202 Cp. W. KRANZ, Stasimon Berlin, 1933, p. 67. 203 W. PORZIG, Die attische Tr agdie des aischylos Leipzig, 1926, pp. 166 167, 171 172; cp. p. 61.

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100 public, the insoluble difficulties of patriotism and cosmopolitanism 204 of the individual and the universal, are discovered within the tragic conscio usness of Xerxes. But, even under another facet, the class war entailed, as its consequence, cosmopolitanism: the aristocrats, desiring not to participate in public / life, where the demos the people ] prevailed, abstained themselves from attending the assembly 205 so with this abstaining they contributed in preparing cosmopolitanism 206 Once more we encounter the aristocratic turmoil, which adds its particular mark to a complex social pattern. The problems, which the war expresses with its agony and tha t s ophistry picks up, entail a critical disintegration of values, from which, among others, visions of universal social experiences form themselves. Sophistry, despite its orderly relativism, as a rule flows into an empirical universal, which Protagoras ha kaine doxan, common opinion/general or commonly accepted opinion) 5. Problems Posed by the Social E lements of R eligion. The Persian wars un settled traditional religiosity and as a result made it totally problematic The sacre d organization of the polis 207 faded when the wars saw that 204 Naturally, cosmopolitanism harmed the polis (cp. ZELL. MOND., I, p. 390, note to p. 318) and weakened the original creative power of Hellenism; cp. U. WILCKEN, Griechische Geschichte Mnichen u. Berlin, 1943, pp. 237 238. 205 CROISET, Dem. Ant. Cit. p. 195. 206 LUCCIONI, op. cit ., pp. 121 122. 207 Cp. POHLENZ, Staat. p. 10.

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101 people on the physi cal world 208 : religion became, then, a political event 209 so that, for example, the Athenians made use of it on their Pan Hellenic plan 210 : religiosity, under a political / point of view, colored itself then of rationalism 211 and started the process of its own di sintegration 212 The denial of the transcendent was the material result of this critical movement in the area of religiosity that does not concern itself with the afterlife; which, according to the thought of Pericles, in a profane way conceives divine forms under aesthetic type 213 ; which does not see, in the course of things, a secure stance of divine action in the face of sudden shifts of historical events (one might recall the doubts that Theognis already had) 214 ; which no longer responds to the new needs and demands placed by the collapse of the ancient social and political order 215 so as to not coincide with the postulates of an autonomous ethics 216 During the pentecontaetia a true desecration of the sacred and, therefore, its resolution in the world of relativ ism, spreads. However, even in an internal way, the religious phenomenon contradicts and dissolves itself. Be it sufficient to think about the double value of the sacred, which as a power can indeed operate for good as well as evil, without, moreover, havi ng this duplicitous determination be at the root of the religious phenomenon 217 : this indifference of value, precisely in the religious phenomenon in its becoming, involved a peculiar 208 MEYER, op. cit. pp. 423; 750 751; KAERST, op. cit ., II, p. 172. 209 Cp. GLOTZ, Hist. gr cit. II, pp. 421 422. 210 NILSSON, Gr. Rel I, p. 695. 211 KAERST, Hell ., II, pp. 264 265. 212 E. DUPREL, Sociologie gnrale Paris, 1948, p. 221. 213 Cp. GLOTZ, Hist. gr. II, p. 181. 214 THEOGN., 133 ff. 215 MEYER, op. cit ., p. 402. 216 MEYER, op. cit., p. 785; cp. Wilamowitz, Glaube cit. II, p. 138; cp. p. 182. 217 Cp. F. PFISTER, Die Religion der Griechen u. Rmer Leipzig, 1930, pp. 121 122.

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102 tragic moment of human knowledge that, in the face of such ambivalence, wi ll never be able to decide. The dramatic Gorgian critique of knowledge takes off precisely from the anti ethical ambiguity of reasons / that are also [567] sacred but transported in the atmosphere of analytic thought 218 The reason of an inextricable antithe sis is, then, characteristic of the sacred and can be pursued in a yet more significant domain. The law is recognized as duplicitous in secular, one could say two opposites in practice appeared more or less confused 219 This ambivalence, which constitutes the basis from which the relativism of the concepts lights up, draws one of its origins also from the double se nse that [ thesmos [ nomos law] can take of sacred law and secular law 220 One can say that Greek experiences, in general, are always sacred and profane at one time: think of physis a philosophical concept so important a lso in the s ophistic age: and here, according to the testimony of Hellanicus 221 Physis is identifie d with Adrasteia, the ancient pre Hellenic goddess mother, determinant of the inflexible laws of existence 222 The problematics of nomos and physis in the myst ery of the social conscience of the religious man, fluctuate vibrating towards those opposite poles, that s ophistry had to make its own in the alternating inclinations, now in one sense, now in another. 218 Cp. Sophists cap. V passim 219 GLOTZ, Cit cit. p. 158. 220 EHRENBERG Recht., pp. 114, 116 ff.; GLOTZ, Cit c it ., p. 163, recalls the prosopopoeia of the laws in Critone 221 FGH 4 F 87 and OF fr. 54 (Kern). 222 Cp. K KERNYI, Die Gttin Natur, Niobe Zrich, 1949, pp. 125 ff.

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103 However, especially in the second half of the fifth c entury, / another religious fact contributed in positing urgent problems to thought. Greek religion now absorbs foreign religions that penetrate it starting in the age immediately following that of the Persian wars 223 and that are welcomed by the masses, whi n arrangements 224 But, in the meantime, traditional valu es, even for this comparison of two forms of religiosity, undergo decisive blows, since the concepts of right, of true, etc., turn out to be, once again, problematic. The most direct resonance of such a religious movement, which could easily slide in aberr ant forms of superstition, comes together in the Interpretation of Dreams by Antiphon [568] which is an expression of relativistic and rationalist mentality, at one time, in opposition with every aphilosophical way of thinking. We, however, care to point o ut how Antiphon, even in this case, feels the imperiousness of a problem posed by a social experience. After all, the individualistic attitude of s ophistry, which detached man from his ties to the polis concurred with a social need to the point that, exa ctly contemporaneously, in Greek society the cult of Asclepius and that of Zeus Philios arise, so timely to satisfy the demands of the single individual isolated and indifferent to the gods of the polis 225 / In general, one can say that Hellenic religion, i n many ways, posed 223 NILSSON Gr. Rel ., I, pp. 787 --789; GLOTZ, Hist. gr. cit., pp. 423 ff.; WILAMOWITZ, Glaube II, p. 222. 224 ZELL. MOND., I, p. 152. 225 NILSSON Gr. Rel ., I, pp. 762 767 and Reflexe von dem Durchbruch des Individualismus in der griechischen religio n um die Wende des 5. Und 4. Jahrhunderts v. Chr. 1936, pp. 369, 371 372; KAERST, Hell ., II, p. 80 ff.

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104 above with his admirable creation in a free society 226 : personal initiative is crucial in the mysterious beliefs 227 so these, on Greek land, convert themsel ves in exaltations of man and in expression of intellectualism 228 The forms of religiosity in which the passionate stimulus constit utes that essence which is anti ethical to reason have to say the least favored the elaboration of rhetoric and s ophistic gnose ology. Rhetoric, in fact, owes a great deal, for the clarification of its stylistic forms (figures), to sacred poetry 229 which had transformed them in the hands of the Hellenic religious society, ready, therefore, to transfer them in the sovereign domain of art. Analogously the pathetic impetus of the eloquence of some s ophists may depend on the ecstatic passion of orgiastic cults 230 The above is as far as rhetoric goes. In addition, Hellenic religion implied a gnoseological theme. Already f or the Hellenics a nd especially in the more ancient age 231 a genuine revelation. Language . .is nothing other than the primordial / discovery by means of logos, logos became meat, but the logoi re manifold 232 The significance of logos was therefore given and developed in two senses: in the rationalistic way, which caused the 226 Cp. E. PETERICH, Die Theologie der Hellenen Leipzig, 1938, p. 324. 227 ZELL. MOND., I, p. 162. 228 JOL, Gesch. Phil ., pp. 1 49 181. 229 H. MEYER, Hymnische Stilelemente in der frhgriechischen Dichtung Wrzburg, 1933, p. 39. 230 WUNDT, op. cit ., I, p. 345. 231 Cp. H. USENER, Gtternamen Bonn, 1929. 232 PETERICH, op. cit ., pp. 181 184.

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105 contrast between unity and plurality that the logos implied to spring up to the speculative conscience of the Hellenics, so that it established itself in its own ambivalence; and in the naturalistic and metaphysical way, which made logos the gathering place of the most radical reality of things, and here the philosophical religious etymology of the Greeks, w ho considering the w phusei by nature] believe that it expresses something on the essence, of which it pretends to be the name, as appears especially in Heraclitus and Aeschylus 233 From the refractions of the many possibilities embedded in the nature of logos, what fixes itself in the speculation of the s ophists is, on one hand, the Gorgian doctrine of logos, in its ambivalence, according to the developments of the Helen and the treaty On Nature or On Non Being that had to determine its persuasive effectiveness, con formant to the irrational way proper even of religious experience 234 ; and on the other, the logical in depth study of the word that, starting with its physis (etymology), resolves itself in the nomos which should be recognized within it in its every single manifestation (synonymy): this the oeuvre of Prodicus 235 / The contradictory nature of words under the gnoseological respect, was conquered also in the intensity of the political wars, which reversed the current sense that they demanded: this is lamented b y Theognis (305 308) and, then, by Thucydides (III, 82, 4), who refers to the facts of Korkyra, that had reached a frenzy in that very year 427, during which Gorgias came to Athens for the first time. The political fact coincides, then, with the religious one to confirm the natural antitheses of logos. 233 Cp. HAOFFMANN, Logik, p. 16 and PORZIG, op. c it. p. 74. 234 Cp. DUPREL, op. cit. pp. 161, 242. 235 Cp. UNTERSTEINER, Prod ., pp. 121 122 and Sophists ch. XI, § 2. Cp, also PARETO, op. cit ., § 290, p. 136. For the development of the synonymic, a considerable influence was given also by the3 evolution of democratic life, which calls for a more exact knowledge of the value of speech (E. SCHWYZER, Griech. Grammatik Mnchen, 1939, p. 33)

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106 Hellenic religiosity wielded its influence on s ophistry also following the decisive intermediary way of the tragedy, a social phenomenon 236 in its origins as much as in its expressions of the high Attic poetry. The Dionysian character of the tragedy, already in its most ancient form, had to ensure that its climax brought to the feeling of the [570] tragic and insoluble dissension inherent in the very gods and in men, since Dionysian religion reveals exactly the knowledge of the contradictions of the world 237 From tragedy and from its religious popular origins, the sense of the tragedy, typical of existence, had infiltrated itself in the awareness of the Hellenics: a problem, this one, essentially s ophistic, to the point that the treatise of Gorgias On Nature or On Not Being is to be considered and felt as the social experience of tragedy and of its poets, translated in ontological and gnoseological terms 238 / Another social phenomenon with a religious backdrop that had a noteworthy repercussion for s ophistry is to be caught precisely in religion, insofar as it is the interpreter of the principle of authority that aims to obtain obedience and discipline from the people. Therefore, according to this system of thought, the state, which has to have had a genesis, represents itself as established by the Gods and demigods or heroes, representatives of the very first social revolutions, carried out in reality by men 239 Thus are explained the different myths: of Protagoras, wh o in the genesis of the society sees the intervention of heroes and gods (even though, in the final analysis, his construction is 236 Cp. POHLENZ, Der hell M. cit., p. 405 237 UNTERSTEINER, Origins pp. 88 ff.; 117 138; 193 ff.; 199, 206; 251; 253 254; 265; 320; 494; 528 and Myth pp. 174 177; 279 ff. 238 Cp. Sophists ch. VI. 239 LABRIOLA, op. cit. pp. 207 140; PARETO op., cit ., § 103, p. 52; § 245, pp. 113 114. See also A. NAMIA, Principi di sociologia e politica, Rome, 1923, pp. 230 232 and, especially E. DUPREL, op. cit. p. 219, which clearly represents how this authority, attributed by the intervention of a god, is not necessary for small social groups whereas it becomes inevitable in the case of a large population. Cp. also pp. 227 ff., where the

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107 substantially anthropological 240 ) and of Critias, who gives an unscrupulously explicit view if the phenomenon, understood as res ulting from a human intervention, with the most contradictory consequences 241 While accepting the religious idea of a civilized life established by a superior being, in reality s ophistry resolves it in an act of the human mind. Sophistry has, therefore, bee n able to give a secular interpretation of certain religious phenomena, that draw their from social life. 6. The Problem of Techn I believe it appropriate to keep in mind yet another social fact that exercises considerable influences on th e theoretical thought of s ophistry. I want to allude to that widespread and certain establishment of the technai that had had its beginning already in the sixth [571] century 242 but that belongs exactly to the age of s ophistry: in it workers are valued to the point that, precisely in this environment, in defiance of an aristocrat as Aristophanes, political men such as Cleon and Hyperbolus, who originate precisely from the world of demiourgoi craftsmen], can come forward and assert themselve s.. This fact, sign of a tacit social revolution, had to create a gnoseological problem perceived by the sensitivity of those who stood amazed before this unprecedented event. In the mind of the aristocrat, a popular assembly composed of shoemakers, carpen ters, 240 Cp. Sophists ch. III part III, § 2 b. 241 Cp. Sophists ch XVIII, § 4. 242 Cp. HASEBROEK, Soc ., p. 240.

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108 farmers, etc. had to appear as absolutely inept in judging political questions, if not even misunderstood 243 Thus was posed the problem of the gnoseological value of the arts: which one? How would their representatives be judged? Even in this domain t he answers of s ophistry are anti ethical. On one hand the devaluation of the arts is insinuated, as occurs in Protagoras, who demolishes its theoretical foundation, at least in the area of the individual experience 244 Similarly, in / Antiphon, techne repres ent the human world of the relative vis vis the absolute physis 245 But, on the other hand, the arts could have appeared so connected by a rational orderliness that they were judged the directive norm of all of life 246 and mark of progress, dependent upon t heir becoming: for this reason, Prodicus renders the history of civilization as founded on the steady discovery of the arts 247 Hippias is the corypheus [chorus lead] of such an exaltation of them and, finally, Critias takes care of knowing the origin of the inventions 248 This social fact fully sweeps over the speculative zeal of the s ophists, who foresee a theoretical problem in it, differently outlined for a solution. And in the contrast between those who glorified the arts and those who raised the aporias a gainst them to limit their 243 Cp. Xen., Mem ., III, 7, 6 7; PLAT., Prot ., 319 CD. 244 Cp. Sophists ch. III, part I, § 2D; cp. part III, § 3, 5, and Prot. Ant ., 34 44. 245 Cp. UNTERSTEINER, Sophists, ch. III, § 5. 246 Cp. HIRZEL, Th., p. 382. 247 DK 84 B 5. 248 DK 88 B 2.

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109 absoluteness, the thoughtful and disconcerted voice of Sophocles rises unable to judge them 249 7. Conclusion The search of an exterior, not philosophical genesis of s ophistry has been able to demonstrate that this current of thou ght truly marks the expression of a specific historical climate, the character of which is determined precisely by social facts. By this, one does not intend to deny the existence of relationships with former and contemporaneous philosophical schools: we k now, for example, that the treatise of Gorgias On Nature or On Not Being is completely a fabric of argumentations aimed at reducing ad absurdum the principles of the most significant pre s ophistic schools. / However the rigorously philosophical reasons oft en correspond to aspects of social life. And this is felt as much in the negative, relativistic part of s ophistic thought as in the constructive, theoretical, and practical results. If one cannot talk of a systematic unity, that brings together the sophist s, because, in reality, they are often in antithesis, or even in polemic among themselves, it is nevertheless natural to think of them as an emanation of a particular historical moment that was in crisis and, consequently, fragmentary in its complexity. I t has seemed that one of the exceptionally fruitful seeds of this crisis was to be discovered in the birth of the spirit of the Hellenic aristocracy, precisely in the moment in which its material splendor faded or, depending on the locations, extinguished itself forever. However, this contrast between reality and ideal dramatized aristocratic thought, 249 SOPH., Ant. 332 ff.

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110 making it multifaceted and sensitive to all the exigencies of social man. When suffering, man learns and comes to know himself; thinks and rises at times to a metaphysic, devoid of abstraction, because it proceeds parallel to particular and concrete human experiences. Humanism has prevented s ophistry from abstracting itself into pure dialectic. Even the most universal forms of s ophistic thought, even the most k een critical analyses always find themselves face to face with a specific social event, from which the sophists, however differently, have inferred an idea or an argumentation or have proceeded at the same time as this event. The s ophists, without meaning to be were philosophers of [573] the history of their age, which the y interpreted with a perfect accuracy. I have not suggested to be carrying out an exhaustive investigation relative to every detail of the question. There are problem s that I left out because their treatment would have excessively enlarged the present essay. My only intent was to pose the questio n in all its validity and track particularly, the relationship between the social life of the aristocracy and the problematic of s ophistry. T he I nstitute des 29 th and May 5 th 1949. The present study was published for the first time in the Studi di filo sofia antica in onore di Rodolfo Mondolfo, by V. E. Alfieri and M. Untersteiner, Bari, Laterza, 1950, pp. 121 180. Now it is republished by kind and cordial concession of the Laterza Editors.

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111 Chapter Four Analysis of Translation Le origini social i della sofistica century Athens and the ways in which these enabled sophistry to develop. Although he briefly mentions some sophistic responses to the issues, the main thrust of his essay is the social co mponent of the events that aroused sophistic speculation and answers. Untersteiner identifies six main social issues as evidenced by his detailed headings and subheadings that contributed to the development of sophistry although the first serves more as an introduction and ove rview. The remaining five parts identify the crisis of the aristocracy, which receives the most expansive treatment in the essay, the war, religion, political struggles, and the problem of techn as the main issues sparking sophistic i nterpretation. First, I introduce each one in a brief summary of the thread running through his overall argument, allowing the reader a broader view of his discussion before delving into each part separately. Second I review and contextualize the main fac ets of each section separately as it occurs. Third I discuss the contribution that each of makes as well as their relevance, significance, and contribution to classical rhetorical theory. I also address key terms as they emerge. Unte La p entecontaetia come et dei problemi posti dalla vita sociale by pondering the pentecontaetia

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112 as the age that in which Hellenic social life presented the social issues that th e sophists will undertake. The pentecontaetia refers to a phase within the Classical Period that spanned between the second Persian invasion of Greece in 480 and the beginning of the Peloponnesian War in 433 BCE. Although the designation is not common in E nglish, Thucydides first used it to describe this age in which Athens dominated the Mediterranean and democracy flourished. I the term. This opening part sets up his discussion by briefly touching on the events prio r to the p entecontaetia and premises the core of his argument: namely, the events of the pentecontaetia were unprecedented and powerful to the point of requiring new ideas and solutions within politics and philosophy. The crisis of the aristocracy appears as the most substantial component of determina una nuova spiritualit nel mondo ellenico markedly appears as the largest section of the essay, receiving more attentio n than any other by being further subdivided into five parts and discusses the crisis of the aristocracy as a leading factor in establishing a new sensibility in the Hellenic world. In this part, Untersteiner argues that this crisis was at the core of the changes that stimulated the emergence of sophistry. The issue of community plays a major role in this part of his argument, taking up the first two sec tions Idea di collettivit e sue conseguenze gnoseologiche expounds on the id ea of community and the gnoseological consequences that emerged f rom it. In Colletivitv e individuo nelle teorie dei sofisti he explores the concepts of community and the individual within the theories of the sophists. In nza relativistica della societ aristocratic a nel travaglio per la ricostruzione

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113 dei propri ideali Untersteiner looks at the relativistic experience of aristocratic societies as they seek to reconstruct the Le aporie degli aristocratici examines the difficulties faced by the aristocratic when the teachableness of virtue came into question. Untersteiner concludes the second part of the essay by analyzing the influence of these aris tocratic crises on the constitutio Influsso della crisi aristocratic a sulle concezioni costituzionali della sofistica The next two main sections discuss the various conflicts that occurred during the p entecontaetia and thei r significanc e to the Spunti di problemi sofistici nelle lotte politiche del V secolo examines the political struggles of the time as stimuli for sophistic concerns, while the next part looks at the more violent struggles of wa r in gene La g uerra I p roblemi posti dagli aspetti della religione examines the issues that emerged from the social elements of r eligion, Finally, in Part Il problema della tecnica deliberates on the issue of techn This que stion is at the heart of discussions at the time, and can be seen as an intellectual struggle to which I will devote substantial room in my analysis below. The seventh and final part of the essay offers a brief conclusion, as its title indi cates. These issues comprise what Untersteiner views as instigating the rise and expansion of sophistry. I now turn to analyzing them in depth and discussing their implications for classical rhetorical theory. Untersteiner begins his essay by positing tha t the work of the sophists was sparked by a number of social and historical events that occurred before and culminated during the p entecontaetia. The crises before, during, and after the fifth century BCE continually destabilized Hellenic social life. Unte rsteiner argues that these predicaments

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114 imposed by social life were so numerous and momentous that they had an incredible influence on the Hellene s. These events prompted the poignant realization that reality is contradictory in a world that was formerly s table under the guises of tradition and myth. The variety of these crises vexed the Hellenes and had to be explained in order to be surpassed. These social shifts in the organization of Hellenic life altered the social dynamics in such a way as to have act ively promoted the emergence of the sophists who answered the social needs of the Hellen e s. Untersteiner bases his argument on certain premises in place at the time. The Hellenics had a different view than the current concept of society. For one, they were aspect that he discusses in depth in Sections A and B of Part Two. Also, the Hellen e s, who had not viewed history as evolutionary, now saw the current affairs in contrast with social conventions as being next to nature. Here Untersteiner addresses the very frequently discussed topic of nomos versus physis although he does not refer to it as such and mentions it only in passing. The question of these two contrasting terms and their relationship did not originate with the sophists but receives persistent intellectual interest from the beginning of philosophic inquiry. Physis rather safely translates to nature, while nomos has no single English corresponding term and refers to laws, customs, and conventions. Related to the verb nomizo which can mean to think, believe, or practice, nomos people (or a people) believe or practice their customs, which, especially in early times, had the force of laws. . Nomos has a prescriptive force: it is not simply what is believed, but what is believed to be right, not just the ways of life a people practices, but

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115 written law codes, custom and law were hardly distinct. The meaning of the word then broadened to cover official laws that were enforced by the state, retaining its prescriptive force (391). W.K.C. Guthrie devotes considerable attention to sophistic conceptions of nomos and physis nomoi, and so there could be nomoi touches on this issue because, around this time, law, customs, and conventions ceased to be considered as part of the fixed order of things. At this point in Hellenic history, The soph ists fulfilled this need. Untersteiner continues his introductory premises by remarking that society also began to establish itself as an operating reality, though still lacking a scientific awareness. The crumbling of physical barriers among tribes, in ad dition, enables relationships of various types between social groups, relationships that make possible the sharing of new ideas. At this time, the unity of noble families weakened, and the full responsibility of individuals, as well as the struggle between political solidarity and the nobility and the expansion of commerce, produced economic unities and an inclination towards inquiry and judgment. The influx of metics further broadens this already rich cultural milieu. The se basic premises created fertile g round for the appearance and flourishing of the s ophists, who supplied answers for the myriad queries that appeared thereof. The fracturing of the noble families, introduced in this first part, is among the most decisive events of the issues which the soph ists tackled.

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116 Untersteiner argues that, while not perishing altogether, the aristocracy as a socio political phenomenon ends in its former manifestation. After the collapse of Boeotian independence, a crisis sweeps over the aristocracy at least until the B attle of Chaeronea in 338BCE. What made this crisis particularly significant was the treatment it received from Pindar, who made it a spiritual matter by addressing the superseding of the Homeric idea. Werner Jaeger discusses this issue in depth, positing after a long succession of famous men the areta Paideia Vol I, 215). While still set in the world of myth, the blood . thrust on him by the conflict of the aristocratic educational tradition with the inborn areta to preserve its po 19). Untersteiner underscores this view by conceiving of it as a social foundation for the development of sophistry. I discuss the subject in more depth below, when Untersteiner addresses the issue in detail Suffice here t Untersteiner emphasizes this position Untersteiner continues Part One of his essay by addressing two decisive social issues in particular as having a bearing on the appearance of sophistry: the problem of human personality and that of constitutions, as he finds explained by Thucydides. Untersteiner suggests that two figures, in particular, demonstrate the issue of human

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117 character: that of Pausinias, who was crucial du ring the Battle of Platea and the Greek victory over the Persians, as well as the head of the Hellenic Leagu e, and that of Themistocles, a new type of Athenian politician and general who distinguished himself during the initial years of Athenian democracy and was a populist supported by the Athenian lower classes, as well as conflicting with the nobility. He was not an aristocrat but an outsider who prided himself with his lack of polish and was instrumental in the second defeat of the Persians by anticipat ing their return and preparing the Athenians by building an unprecedented navy and strategizing the decisive victory in the straits of Salamis, without which, Greek civilization and values would unlikely have been reached. Jaeger identifies him as being th e first to use the term foreign politics (390). By calling attention to these two figures, Untersteiner mounts his case for the importance of the development of human character, for these two figures rose above the traditional roles permitted to individua ls who were not of noble birth. Furthermore, he calls attention to two speeches: a speech given at the Congress of Sparta by the Corinthian s and delegates of Athens in Sparta for other purposes that though speaking of Corinth with the outward purpose of di ssu ading Sparta from declaring war causes turmoil among her allies had the effect of sparking the Pelop onnesian War. Untersteiner focuses on these two speeches to support his contention that they enabled the constitution and the social impact of a people influencing each other. This shift has an indelible distinguishing effect on the social intercourse of individuals, affecting the way they associate with one another and form social groups. Thus

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118 individuals began to stipulate their social conditions, deciding them in a spiritual unity. This steady renewal of social affairs, many of which appeared for the fi rst time, created problems that originated new ideas, political systems, and philosophical methods that stimulate new solutions. The power of oratory and rhetoric thus becomes evident, for it provides the only way for individuals to manage the social expe rience they share and that affects them. One can clearly see, then, that the predicaments produced by the new organization of social existence necessitate novel methods of handling the necessities demanded in this period. This new need called for new measu res provided by the sophists. Crisis of the Aristocracy the aristocracy as provid ing a definite direction toward a new awareness in the Hellenic world. This sec tion opens up one of the main points that Untersteiner formulates regarding the community individual dichotomy. Here Untersteiner focuses in particular on the gnoseological consequence s of community on the aristocracy. The term gnoseology, not common in En glish parlance, must be clarified in order to explicate this More common in Italian rhetoric than in its English counterpart, gnoseology appears in place of epistemology. The definitions of both concepts as found in two lea ding dictionaries offer a good starting point for the discussion of the differences between the two terms. The Oxford English Dictionary Unabridged Merriam Webster

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119 the By contrast, the OED the Unabridged Merriam Webster t he method and grounds of knowledge especially with reference to its limits and validity; according to DeMauro Paravia dictionary, gnoseologia parte della filosofia che si occupa della natura e dei lim iti della conoscenza umana | dottrina, teoria della conoscenza enunciata da un dato filosofo o da una determinata corrente di pensiero: g. empiristica, g. kantiana the part of philosophy that deals with nature and the limits of human knowledge, a s well as the doctrine or theory of knowledge as stated by a particular current of thought, for example empiristic gnoseology, Kantian gnoseology. These definitions identify the basic shades of meaning between the two words. Although both concepts denote philosophical theories of knowledge, the terms differ in the scope of their meaning. The basic distinction, I believe, lies in the grounds of knowledge covered by each term: epistemology refers to the theory of knowledge that deals with episteme 1 which, according to the OED The Columbia Dictionary of Modern Literary and Cultural Criticism (97). Gnosis on the other hand, me ans knowledge in a more general sense, and that is the area of gnoseology. Therefore, gnoseology includes epistemology under its broader definition much like romanticism includes transcendentalism and Gothicism, so that not 1 In contemporary critical theory, particularly structuralist and poststructuralist, epi steme has acquired a more expansive and complex meaning, which I do not explore because it is not relevant to the context being discussed here.

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120 all gnoseology is epistemology in the same way that not all Romanticism is transcendentalism or Gothicism. This difference shows the realm of analysis of sophistry versus that of philosophy. However, although arguably for philosophy in traditional terms, epistemology is a kind of gnoseo logy. Another way of looking at this gradation is to think of it in these terms: gnoseology is to epistemology as enthymeme is to syllogism. While the premises of the syllogism are certain, those of the enthymeme, a rhetorical syllogism popularized by Aris totle are not. Ultimately, the distinction lies specifically in Italy, where epistemology refers exclusively to that branch of gnoseology that addresses scientific knowledge, or even more distinctively, the philosophy of science. This differentiation also calls attention to the subtle nuances not only of different languages but also of the theories of knowledge of various cultures ; I believe that the English speaking world would benefit from such a distinction and will develop this notion in Chapter Five. In terms of the use that Untersteiner makes of the word, the relationship between the aristocratic man and his relationship with the community creates an idiosyncratic gnoseological situation. A regulated life with firm customs delimits the desires of ind ividuals and, therefore, to the their self actualization; however, individuals began to question tradition based on the social events that saw those of noble birth as fluctuating between innovatory self determination and a yielding to community traditional roles. As the aristocrats lost their place as the sole members of the community, the role of the individual as a gnoseological and ethical entity became a problem. Werner Jaeger explains,

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121 The Athenian state . made every free born citizen of Athenian descent consider himself a member of the Attic community, and qualified him to serve it. This was simply an extension of the idea of kinship through blood, but now the community was composed of the members of one city, not the members of a few noble famili es. That was the only possible basis for the city state . [placing] a new emphasis on individual personality. (287) Because it comes into question, the social condition of individuals in this period can more accurately be described, or perhaps more ac curately in Italy, as falling within the realm of gnoseology, occurring within the cognition of the individuals involved, who began questioning the aristocratic position as divinely ordained through lineage. This challenging of tradition proves crucial to compliance with community beliefs gave way to a pioneering autonomy during this time. Relativism inevitably unleashed itself over the Hellenic world, for beliefs held onto for centuries were now being disputed, opening up a space for individual will, a space that proved threatening to and accelerated the degeneration of the aristocracy, as individual freedom diverged from the confines set by a universal concept. As a result of the pervasive relativism, the aristocracy latch ed on to eternal ideas in a desperate attempt to retain its power. The values that the aristocracy recovered and exhorted do not translate easily in modern terms. Two fundamental political principles aidos dike respect for others; its meaning emerges from the personification of the goddess of sham e, modesty, and humility. Albrecht D ih

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122 prospective conscience which persuades [hu]m an to apply the moral standards of 23). This function can make it perhaps, afraid of the ensuing reaction s to his[/her] deed and of other discomforts that (23 24). Therefore, may prevent individuals from acting at all, despite their being obliged to do so, for it offers appealing justifications to dike loosely translated as justice, is usually considered the leading Greek virtue. Again, expressing the full worth of the concept proves beyond the scope of this dissertation and The Greek Concept of Justice: From Its Shadow in Homer to Its Substance in Plato These concepts, ( nomoi ) n people. Broader still, the concepts of harmony and philanthropy were attitudes and motivations of great importance in aristocratic thought. Untersteiner assumes knowledge of these terms in his audience so he does not define them nor transliterate them. H armonia points out that these concepts share a social foundation based on a collective experience that evolves into an abstraction. By expressing an eter nal and therefore ideal essence of the human being, the aristocratic society generates a collective entity that serves as a creative force and a limit, both an inspiration and a constraint. Jaeger again explains,

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123 Only at this stage of spiritual developme nt are such problems as those of freedom and authority, or education for citizenship and education for leadership, conceived and answered, and only at this stage do they acquire their full urgency as e societies, in herd communities, or family communities where there is no conception of the power of the human mind. (288) The community, therefore, is a social phenomenon in need of interpretation, an interpretation that the sophists alone would offer. T he aristocracy latch ed on to anything at this point as a desperate attempt to retain its power. Religiosity is one of the ways in which the aristocracy contributes to the consciousness of the community. Untersteiner points to Pindar once again, who as the champion of the political and ethical ideals of the aristocracy, was apt to imbue his work with Apollonism. This uncommon term refers to a one of two instincts, the other being Dyonisism, and denotes ins, on depends : Apollonian instinct is a s Michael Haar explains that it aar develops this concept further and explains force of nature ks after a long

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124 heroes become ethical concepts of universal validity to which individual s should aspire and with which the aristocrats are naturally endowed. The individual can perfect himself within the universality of a type, yet Pindar proclaims that the universal is the aristocratic ( genos ) unity, despite the dichotomy of the individual versus the community. However, under this conception, arte could not be carried out for it remained within the limits of the aristocratic world since the individual would have to act even without the support of the community. The shift took time, for, as Untersteiner argues the decline of the aristocracy was merely apparen t In fact, despite these innovative currents, the population was inclined towards ancient traditions that granted the aristocracy superiority and competence as the leader s of the people. The idea of equality, though alluring, did not seem to fall within t he realm of the possible. Therefore, the aristocrats, by grasping onto certain eternal ideas, retained their power, reaching a paradoxical situation in which they effectively became the leader s of democracy on one hand while continuing to operate both as t he official party and in secret societies on the other. Ian Worthington supports this view, stating that tocracy, then, assimilates democracy in a new society that has a broadened circle of privileged individuals. However, the concept of community remains and expands from the aristocratic spirituality within the democratic epoch.

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125 This notion of unity in the decline of the aristocracy due to a transformation. The relationship between human replaces the Delphic and aristocr atic universal. Physis becomes the primordial essence of human beings. The universal value of the community and the problem of individual abilities remain apparent to historians, such as Aristotle, but the collective ambition is wide enough not to be surpa ssed by any individual conception. The collective, then, ends up dimming individualism, although political struggles and the intensity of passions revive the issue which is hindered by the universal idea. Untersteiner then touches on the role of war, to w hich he will devote an entire section later on in the essay, in presenting the problem of individual responsibility before the people, yet no open controversy emerged, for the individual remained within the universality of the community. Still in the secon d half of the fifth century, the aristocracy is suspicious of prominent characters, whose individualism is targeted by poets such as Phrynichus and Aristophanes and who Greek reflection on the nature of ed ucation lays great stress on the concepts of [ tupos, [ tupoun, types], even when the spontaneous individual factor in this process is strongly felt, as by the sophists or by Plato. This concept is the heritage of the early aristocrati c ideal of education. Needless to say, the content of the later Platonic ideal type of human personality differed greatly from that of the early aristocratic world; but the education process as such w as still visualized in the same terms of moulding. (422)

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126 Social life, then, for Untersteiner, fuels an interest in human typology, for features of this typology define the main forces that act in the complex world of humanity. Therefore, dentifies the elements that constitute it. The universal and the individual flounder, and aristocratic spirituality remains to be surpassed. then points toward the shaping of individual autonomy that occurs at the origins of democ ratic thinking and, by extension, sophistry. This novel and explicitly political conception of the social order raised doubts and questions. were politicized and conver ted into properties of or seen in relation to the community This gradual shift calls to mind the mythological types of human character that were being left behind at th is point but that continued to live on in a more humanistic interpretation of social life. Untersteiner argues that sophistry developed because the sophists had to explain to the people what was happening, so this process played a huge role in the formatio n of the social foundation from which the sophistic movement emerged Nevertheless, despite the apparent changes in historical terms, Untersteiner does not find significant psychological and gnoseological differences in the typology of Greek human existenc e.

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12 7 Sophistical Theories Regarding Community and Individual Untersteiner explores the theories of the sophists regarding community and individual in the second section of his discussion of the crisis of the aristocracy. In this view, Protagoras tackle s the contradictory between type and individual, between universal and particular hu man being as a problem that needs to be resolved urgently by constructing a measure of al /her self the knowableness of reality contradictory as it may be. This gap can be closed through a relativistic phenomenalism of the individual when the knower transforms experiences free of value into experiences w ith value. Therefore, the individual knower becomes the representative of the interest of the community, which is the total sum of individuals of certain category doctors, farmers, orators, sophists, and others united, gnoseologically speaking, by the cohe r ence of relative knowableness of a definite experience. This revolutionary view posits that only the collective human being, the human being in general, the type is able to perfect the experiences of individual welfare. As a result, in the evolution of c ivilization, the state of perfection is achieved when the life of the polis dike, aidos, mutual politke arte, political virtue) of the aristocracy, that bring individuals to unity. For Protagoras, then, all the expressions of life are contained within the paradigm of a universalizing leveling concept. Compared to the aristocratic position that had renewed the socio political practice, Protagoras inno vates because he transposes a compound of scattered and instinctive experiences into a coherent system, translating the social phenomenon of the

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128 annihilation of individual for collective interest into a philosophical concept defined as The philosophical and rationalistic idea of community is a fundamental issue for other sophists such as Antiphon and Hippias. They theorize that the concrete actions of koinoi nomoi, common laws). This conception of universal laws, identical for everyone, is clear when the individual physis recognizes a universal and essential physis above itself, according to an anonymous treatise ( About Laws ). Such a rationalistic solution had to clash with all the difficulties of universal concepts and with reality that could not be reduced to conceptual uniformity, as felt by Lycophron in particular who must have critiqued the idea to deny it any possible ethics. As a result, the collecti ve unity of individuals is an ideal more than a reality. Sophistry concerns itself with typical characterology, which is always an expression of the universal. The OED character, esp. of its development, types, an Hippias, who took on the problem of character, extricates it from the good/evil antithesis, as does Prodicus with Heracles, which illustrates the education of Heracles (Ramelli 62). According to these two sophists, the character type is created by that very antithesis, from which emerges the distinctly political typology of aristocratic spirituality. For the sophists, however, the will determines the character of the individual, though in different ways. Albrecht Dihle examines t he ideas that the Greeks held about human action, explaining that according to the Greeks,

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129 . moral freedom is guaranteed by the free intellectual activity of the human mind, which leads, however, to a proper insight into the immutable laws that deter intellectual de escapable duty towards human affairs seems to be essential in free and responsible human activities. Apparently, man has to rely on the ratio nal order of being and on his intellect, which is supposed to be able to evaluate, according to that order, the means and end of action. On the other hand, man has to be fully conscious of his own intellectual deficiencies, for he is doomed to become a par t of tha t order th r o ugh his action despite his inability to perceive the whole of reality. This universal dilemma was particularly strongly felt in Greece. (47) Untersteiner points to Protagoras for an elaboration of this concept. For Protagoras, the stro nger logos constructs, through an act of will, the ethical values of human community. This view appears in a recent treatment of this sophist. In Protagoras and the Challenge of Relativism Ugo Zilioli, fellow of the University of Parma, underscores the a utonomy of the individual in the ethical life of the polis ess, ultimately ethical matter (105). The will, to continue with Untersteiner, in the moment of decision bolsters the high point of individual action for Gorgias, as well as Prodicus. Finally,

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130 Critias renders the individual, according to his will, as imposing social ethics upon the universality of law. Therefore, despite their mixed solutions, the bearing of the will factor is common to all the sophists, political life having perceived its effectiveness, but it is also a difficult problem, necessary for the dictation of the universal both in the name of the community and of the indiv idual. Untersteiner concludes this section by stating that the fundamental attitude of aristocratic thought hinged on the community individual alternative and therefore on its typical characterology. Due to its persistence within social and political pract ice, this attitude had to force itself on the speculative thought of the sophists, who created a universal concept of socio political experience and rendered individual human attitudes effective as typical paradigms for individuals to function within socia l life. Relativist ic Experience of an Aristocratic Society Seek ing to Reconstruct Its Ideals One of the primary areas of congruity within sophistic thought lies within the relativistic dissolution of values. Hellenic hum anism reached this conclusion in different ways Untersteiner touches on the relations of travelers who comparing Hellenic with barbarian laws and customs could not but reach the conclusion that what were once considered eternal and indestructible traditions held no value in any other pla ce. Nevertheless, he considers this crucial influence to be a predominantly cultural rather than social phenomenon. Unterstei ner considers the social events, which caused great upheaval, to have been overwhelming ( nous ) becomes a problem under the thrust of political contrasts, ceasing to be absolute. With the advent of the democratic

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131 order, the rational possibility of determining the truth of things within the realm of politica l experience disappears As a result, positive law has no value. The consequences of this theoretical position developed in two ways. The ( nomos ) on which the democratic struggle against the Persians had hinged and had met t he fiercest opposition from the aristocracy raised the doubt regarding the validity of aristocratic laws. According to Josiah Ober in his Mass and Elite in Democratic Athens: Rhetoric, Ideology, and the Power of the People, this event promoted the develop ment of democracy. While no single cause can be provided, laws arbitrarily, mol ding them according to necessity yet claiming these laws as expressions of divine will. The relativism of customs and, by extension, the laws inherent within them, can be accepted, according to Pindar, since the revolutions of the time confirm it, as long as the divine continues to be recognized. The discovery of the relativism of the law, so acutely felt and accentuated by the aristocrats, produced an additional result. If a law was variable within a people and between peoples, ethics also lost its found ation that human beings considered indisputable. W.K.C. Guthrie describes this time as one when people . are entering a world in which not only sweet and bitter, hot and cold, exist merely in belief, or by convention, but also justice and injustice, right and wrong. Doubts about the order and stability of the physical world as a whole, and the dethronement of divinity in favour of chance and natural necessity as causes, were

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132 seized upon by upholders of the relativity of ethical conceptions and became part of the base of their case. (59) which can be aristocratic laws of sacral origin as much as those laws valid for all people, founded on the universality of nature, as extended by the favored cosmopolitanism of the aristocracy. Untersteiner views this move against the relativism of the written laws as yet another attempt of the aristocracy to grasp on to conservative currents The sophists retrieved and offered nuan ced interpretations for this social problem formulated by an aristocracy attempting to save itself, as evidenced in the doctrines of Protagoras, Gorgias, Hippias, and Antiphon. In particular, Untersteiner calls attention to or patrios politeia ) welcomed by Thrasymachus and proclaimed as valid by virtue of the divine nature. The sophistic age, in its moments of spiritual return to the aristocratic world, translates the ancient idea of unwritten laws according to an antidemocratic socio political program. The relativism and the attempts to resolve it in a spiritual manifestation free of quarrels find their primordial schemes within the struggle of rearranging the aristocratic consciousne ss and ideals The Aristocrats and the Problem of Teaching Virtue The teachableness of virtue is among the most demanding social problems faced by the sophistic age. This question was also raised by the aristocracy in crisis. The possibility of teaching

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133 often proclaims. Hippias offers an explicit polemic to this conception. Nevertheless, despite the deep conviction that natural abilities are decisive within the teaching of virtue, the recognition that bad company can bring to moral ruin and that instruction cannot make someone wise once again leads to the dispersion of educational values so dear to the aristocrats The subversion of the value of social classes is such th at the aristocrat arte or virtue), placing, therefore, the problem of its teachableness in genuine dramatic turmoil, for admitting its possibility would place in question the very conception of aristocracy. The political drama of an entire segment of society becomes a challenging gnoseological problem in the thought of the sophists. However, Untersteiner reminds the reader that sophistic education, while based on the development of individual rather than inherit ed abilities, nonetheless applies primarily to the leaders of rather than the common people, so the former aristocratic problem returns in a new form, as, in general, the kind of education in vogue in the fifth century BCE was directed towards the life of the nobles. expensive private education, yet the market for it thrived best in a democratic culture; they presented themselves as great facilitators of democratic procedures, y et their effect was to secure advantages for the well to The social pressure of the educational problem caused a clash between aristocratic education and a politico democratic conception, one of the shaping causes of the nomos physis controversy Th e reaction to this controversy emerges as one of the most prominent contributions of the sophists, who according to Jaeger all taught political arte and were

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134 i implicitly debates about whether the upper classes should have to share political power w on rhetorical abilities. The Aristocratic Crisis and Constitutional Conceptions of Sophistry The stimuli provided by the social drama of the aristocracy within a politi cally won world are indeed numerous. The aristocracy supplied themes proposed not only by its social drama but also of thought already elaborated by a particular social, political, and philosophical experience of a former time. These influences emerge in P ythagoreanism, which was of sharply aristocratic politics. Thus, the contradictory presence of both oligarchic and democratic sophists loses its peculiarity. Untersteiner consider s the constitutional drama of the second half of the fifth century BCE to be fully driven by the power of the aristocratic political ethos so sophistry suffers under the dichotomy tyranny (or aristocracy) versus democracy and especially the more recent sophist s fluctuate between these two political conceptions. Sophistic Proble ms in the Political Struggles of the Fifth Century Untersteiner finds that the social and political themes were set by the aristocracy because it had to deal with the problem of granting citizens rights that did not flow logically from the traditions of th eir society. Original possibilities remain, influenced by new forms established on the unrest of the past. The problem of the individual was pressing at the

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135 time of political struggles and revolutions, which stimulate the inventiveness ready to evolve full y, also because political choices call for analytical consideration to warrant an thumos, emotional impulses, soul], which De aere aquis et locis which is often considered the earliest occurrence of the nomos / physis distinction Untersteiner points once again to the problem of the individual, this time in relation to the state. The favored constitutional form is the one that benefits the mos t, and the criterion of utility may lead to indifference. Here Untersteiner finds the beginning of legal principles conceived as benefitting a particular self interest so that it appears reduced to economy. Therefore, the constitutional problem is an effec t of social life that concerns all citizens. The notion of constitution began defining itself in its potential types only with the democracy of Cleisthenes, who definitively deter mined the principle of or isonomia. Isonomia denotes equality in fro nt of the law. Wood and Wood identify this calls it tyrannical catchphrase, the term (75). Isonomia can be considered as the opposite of the political principle harmonia which I defined above, and (Wood and Wood 163 64). However, Untersteiner continues, these constitutional forms, though finally defined, di d not immediately pose the specific problem of political programs and parties.

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136 Sure enough, immediately after the Persian wars, the Athenian democracy was stirred once again by an unstable, agitated, and unequal trend until the second half of the fourth century. This situation presented the problem of the relativism of forms of government The political struggles intensified. The contrast between political factions cause d the need for political doctrines. Within their clashes, however, the problem of the best form of government found no solution, causing the perception of the practical ins olubility regarding the best form of go vernment. The concept of profit, utility, or usefulness thereby dissipate d every theoretical essential inherent in any constitution. All the discussions that, starting at the time of the Peloponnesian war, were raise d regarding the problem of the forms of constitutions, both in terms of their essence and in relation to their genesis, were imposed by social condition s The sophists take on as unavoidable the study of the political event, the validity of law, and the me aning of constitutions because of the constitutional drama of Athens, which, after its victory over Persia, had amplified the play of forces that affected its fate. The incursion of new needs, such as maritime politics, works to create a particular type of government, almost as though it were a natural organization. The author of the Constitution of Athenians resolves a political circumstance when he discovers the coherence of democracy despite hating it, according to Untersteiner. Because it turns into a d ecisive factor urging on consciousness, sociality becomes a political phenomenon that solicits a practice as much as a theory. Untersteiner views not only the theorizing on the forms of governments but also their giving of contrasting answers of the so phis ts as implicit proof of the contradictory nature of reality. Otherwise, an identical intention would not have reached conflicting

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137 conclusions. The play of political parties relativize d the concept of truth and error. Untersteiner points towards Aristophane s and Euripides. War The problem of profit or utility clearly demonstrates the meaning of war, so that for the first time during the Peloponnesian war, the economy formed the generative force of this social phenomenon, which also brought the economy to a critical condition a matter suffered by all and therefore to be interpreted. Sophistry, which carried out most of its activity during this dramatic historical period, noticed the action produced by social life in its pathological expression of an armed co nflict. The problem attracted the sophists all the more because they were, usually, opposed to wars. When induced by profit, human conduct will at some point become problematic due to the relativism that the concept entails and that occurs when seen in economic terms. However, profit is not the only element of the dissolution of values due to wars. The justness that, before the Persian wars, was founded on self control and was therefore the consequence of individual temperament, began to lose that base t hat originated from the political spirituality of the aristocrats. As he mentions earlier, Untersteiner recalls the problematic of great political figures of the time who act according to criteria that shun traditional norms of right and wrong. Further, th e war had laid the premises for an inversion of values, and the struggles between parties had become a power that behaved harshly both in internal politics and international relations. This play of interests ended up resulting in new ideas. The culmination of these contrasts occurred during the Peloponnesian war, especially in Attica, where the military operations caused a clash

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138 between the conservative people of the countryside and the progressive ones of the cities. Therefore, Untersteiner views the war a s responsible for class spirit and party that led to opposite political theories, of which the sophists became the representatives. Further more the immediate, almost abstract, contrast among laws and among customs dramatized within a social reality in w hich antithesis appears as the fundamental norm, brought to an exacerbated obviousness by the narrow confines of the polis an ideal location to pinpoint opposites and signal their incompatibility. With Pericles, the class war that had exploded fatally wit hin aristocratic regimes had led to the triumph of the proletariat, which caused the most paradoxical reactions from the adversaries. In these conditions of high social tension and an unstable balance, theory appeared spontaneously until reaching the ideal of Antiphon, who wanted to see the class war to end, as well as the clash between lineages, such as the fatal one between Hellenics and barbarians. Untersteiner views this universal anxiety that reache d cosmopolitanism as emerging from the dramatic angui sh of the Peloponnesian war. Cosmopolitanism which is in the very nature of the sophistic mindset and that was theorized by Hippias and Antiphon conveys a very complex moment for the Hellenics and their social needs, to the point that not all sophists were able to comprehend its importance. To support this view, Untersteiner points toward the Hellenic/ b arbarian antithesis that had originated under Darius with the founding of the Persian Empire and materialized with the Persian wars between 490 and 479 BCE. A political problem had emerged from this antithesis: the opposition between tyranny, which was subjugated by Persia, and Hellenic democracy. Untersteiner finds the issue of cosmopolitanism in Antiphon, who notes that the law did not correspond to the requ isonomia Isonomia which

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139 required contrasts to be surpassed without residuals. The sophist seems to say that the absolute value of isonomia rather than cause the Hellenic b arbaria n opposition, which had in fact happened, had actually assuaged it. Isonomia became the abolishment of all law to restore the natural physis in terms of human and universal sociality, and can thus be called cosmopolitanism. The implications of Unterstei scholars, such as Nestle, Havelock, and Guthrie, credit Antiphon with a full blown theory of the unity, equality, and even brotherhood of all humankind, others stress the biological argument and are unconvinced of its cosmopolitanism beings, while simultaneously devaluing the importance of cultural differences among deems Untersteiner also holds this view. A particular situation evolved in the consciousness of the Hellenics, despite the concurrence of other social events 2 causing a social problem that re connected to the koine : common or shared ) due to the collaboration of Greeks and non Greeks in the age of rhaps popular form of Greek that appeared in the fifth century BCE when Attic and Ionic started approximating each other and was not surprising given the power of Athens over the Ionians (Andrados 177 2 See Translation The War section

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140 question posed by social conditions c aused by the Peloponnesian war which intensified the class wars aspired to internal, as well as external, peace, and establishe d itself as a great idea that act ualized only after Alexander. However, Untersteiner views the Hellenic b arbarian antithesis as dramatic in the cultural and social world of the fifth century, even while patriotism caused an uproar that stifled contrary views. Cosmopolitanism amounted to a problem that occurred during the Persian wars and became a theoretical issue at the time of the sophists, who were determined by the social imperative of the class war. While celebrating the triumph of The Persians also p resents the unsolvable controversy of patriotism and cosmopolitanism, of the individual and the universal. The class war entailed cosmopolitanism also in another way. The aristocrats refrained from attending the assembly, not wanting to participate in pub lic life where the demos predominated, contributing to cosmopolitism by means of this abstentionism. Once again, the aristocratic turmoil contributes to a complex social circumstance. Untersteiner concludes that the problems brought on by the war and picke d up by the sophist s cause a critical dissolution of values which create universal social experiences. Problems Raised by Religion The Persian wars unsettled traditional religion, making it utterly problematic. The religious organization of the polis fa ded when the wars made religion subordinate to the ideas of state so as to favor the freedom of the human spirit and fix the attention of the people on the physical world. Religion thus became a social issue, so, for example, the

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141 Athenians used it in terms of their pan Hellenic project. From the political point of view, religion becomes tinged with rationalism, beginning its dissolution. The denial of the transcendent was the critical movement within religion that 1) does not concern itself with afterlife, 2) conceives divine forms in an aesthetic way, 3) faced with sudden mutations within historical events, does not see a safe divine line of action in the order of things, and 4) does not respond to the new needs that appeared after the collapse of the anci ent social and political order A true corruption of the sacred and, therefore, its outcome in the realm of relativism spread during the p entecontaetia. Even internally, the religious phenomenon contradicts and dissolves itself. Untersteiner points to the double value of the sacred, which can certainly operate in both good and evil without making this twofold conclusion the foundation of the religious phenomenon. This lack of a standpoint toward religious values indicates a distinct moment in human knowled antithetical ambiguity of reasons that are also sacred though transferred in the analytical sphere. The circumstance of an unsolvable antithesis is characteristic of the sacred, but Untersteiner p ursues it in what he considers to be an even more significant domain. The law is recognized as duplicitous: proclaimed as sacred and immutable on one hand, yet viewed as human or even secular on the other and therefore subject to change. These opposites we re thus confounded in practice. This ambivalence, which forms the thesmos : nomos : law) can take of sacred and secular law. Drawing on Ostwald Ian Morris elucidates that

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142 by an external agency, conceived as standing apart and on a higher plane than the century word, nomos authority of the age nt who imposed it than by the fact that it i s regarded and accepted as vali Untersteiner states the Greek experiences in general have always been sacred and secular in the past, illustrating with the account of Hellanicu s, who identifies Physis with Adrasteia, the ancient pre Hellenic goddess and mother, ordainer of the inflexible laws of existence. Sophistry took on the problematic nomos and physis that fluctuated within the social consciousness of the religious human be ing. Particularly in the second half of the fifth century, another religious occurrence contributed in presenting urgent problems for sophistic thinking. Greek religion absorb ed the foreign religions that percolated right after the Persian wars and which are welcomed by the masses while the upper classes were inclined to a more universal rationalization and elaboration. Both display ed dissatisfaction with old forms and a search for new resolution. Traditional values, however, due to this comparison of reli gious forms, suffer ed decisive blows, so the concepts of just, true, and others, once again prove d problematic. Untersteiner finds the most direct reverberation of this religious movement, which could have easily slid in to aberrant forms of superstition, i Interpretation of Dreams which is an expression of a relativistic and rationalistic mindset, once again demonstrating the imperative that the sophists felt towards problems within social life Generally, Hellenic religion posed the problem o f the individual in many ways. The Homeric hu man similar to a god soar ed high with his marvelous creations within a

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143 free society Because individual initiative is crucial in foreign beliefs, these convert to exultation of human beings and manifestations of intellectualism within Greek land. The forms of religion, whose impassioned impetus created the antithesis to reason, to say the least favored the elaboration of rhetoric and sophistic gnoseology. Untersteiner asserts that rhetoric is indebted to sacred poetry in terms of the elaboration of its stylistic forms and rhetorical figures, transforming them within Hellenic religious society and transferring them into the supreme realm of art. Similarly, he attributes the pathetic impetus of eloquence of some so phists to the ecstatic passion of orgiastic cults. Hellenic religion also suggested a gnoseological theme. Hellenics believed that every word could become a divinity, for language was viewed as the primordial revelation by means of the logos which revea led the divine to humanity by giving hum ans the ability to express it. For the Hellenes, the logoi and the gods were many. The significance of logos thus developed in two ways: 1) the rationalistic way, which brought to the fore the contrast between unity and plurality implied by logos so that its ambivalence became apparent; and 2) the naturalistic and metaphysical way, which made it the receptacle of the most radical reality of things. H ere Greek philosophical religious etymology, when considering the wo rd physis thinks it expresses essence, of which it claims to be the name, as seen in Heraclitus and Aeschylus. From the reflections of the multiple possibilities within the nature of logos, Untersteiner identifies two sophistic speculations. For one, the Gorgian doctrine of logos in its ambivalence according to the developments in Helen and the treaty On Nature or On Non Being determined the persuasive effectiveness of logos in keeping with the irrational ways of religious experience. Scott Consigny addr esses this very issue in Gorgias: Sophist and Artist,

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144 On Not Being though the artificial categories of the Eleatics. Insofar as we accept these categories as real, we will remain sep arated from true experience, for every rational account of close examination of Prodicus, which starting with the etymology of the word, its physis turns logos into nomos to be found in its every manifestation, read synonym. Schiappa orthoepeia ) a clear example of the new rationalistic approach to logos Protagoras 79 ). Hellenic religiosity then, exerted considerable influence on sophistry, also by way of tragedy, a social phenomenon in its origins as much as in its manifestation with in high Attic poetry, which brought to the suffering of the tragic and the unsolvable dissension between hum an beings and the gods, since Dionysian religion displays the contradictions of the world. Swartz comments on this connection, stating that art Greek tragedy, and th of its socially unhealthy elements and to reconnect the audience to the human condition, as defined by the stat To Untersteiner, however, tragedy and its rel igious popular origins gave the Hellene s a tragic sense of existence, an On Not Being as the social experience of tragedy and of the poets in ontological and gnoseological terms. Another social phen omenon with religious undertones is religion itself. As the interpreter of authority, religion aims to achieve obedience and discipline from the people. According to sophistic thought, the state, which had to have had a genesis,

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145 present ed itself as created by gods and demigods or heroes, representatives of the very first social revolutions but actually operated by human beings, as explained by Protagoras and Critias, who gives an unscrupulously explicit view of the religion, understood as a human interventi on with the most contradictory consequences. Sophistry, then, has provided secular interpretations of religious phenomena derive d from social life. The Problem of Techn The last issue that Untersteiner considers is the issue of techn which exerted con siderable influence on the speculative thought of the sophists. The widespread and certain spread of the technai had begun already in the sixth century BCE but that properly belongs to the sophistic age. At this time, workers were valued to the point that they could come forward and assert themselves as political men, as did Cleon and Hyperbolos, demorgoi which means craftsmen, or literally someone who works for the people, as indicated by its root demo This event is a sign of a tacit social revolution, causing a gnoseological problem for those who stood astonished by this unprecedented occurrence. An assembly made up of shoemakers, carpenters, farmers, and the like, to the aristocrats appeared as completely incapa ble of judging political matters. Therefore, the question of the gnoseological value of the technai was raised, and in this domain the answers of sophistry are once again antithetical. Protagoras implies the devaluation of the technai by demolishing their theoretical foundation, at least in regards to personal experience. Similarly, in Antiphon, technai corresponds to the relativistic human world before absolute physis

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146 On the other hand, the technai may have appeared so connected by a rational orderlines s that they were judged the governing guidelines of life and a sign of progress; therefore, Prodicus renders the history of civilization as founded on the progressive discovery of the arts, Hippias follows in kind exalting them, and Critias concerns himsel f with knowing the origin of inventions. The social situation takes over the speculative zeal of the sophists, who see a theoretical problem and once again tackle it in different ways. Conclusion Untersteiner concludes that sophistry articulated the socia l conditions of its specific historical moment. While he acknowledges that the sophists offered contrasting interpretations, he considers them humanists and philosophers of their age, although their very humanism kept their way of thinking from becoming di alectic. Ultimately, he views the crisis of the aristocracy as most significant, offering the most fruitful site for sophistic thought. His closing sentence, in which he calls attention to the philosophical nature of the sophistic enterprise, is a distinct challenge to the early and middle but not late Plato. In Phaedrus tersteiner is advancing the same argument.

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147 Chapter 5 Conclusion does not study rhetoric will be a victim of it Ancient Greek wall inscription T he general misrepresentation of the concept of sophistry and of the ideas undergirding the m ovement hold s foreboding consequences for Western societies because they not only incorrectly represent the cultural and social role of sophistry but also do not acknowledge the power that sophistry and its main subject of instruction rhetoric provide to s ocieties that deem themselves democratic. By definition, democracy calls on the people, the demos to rule or at least contribute to ruling themselves through rhetorical participation. Not acknowledging the (proper) role of sophistry and the importance of rhetoric i n contemporary social contexts denies citizens both the knowledge and the tools needed to participate actively within a democratic society. In this chapter I offer my view of sophistry in terms of its rhetorical and pedagogical value, including i ts implications for contemporary society, the university, and relevance to the compo sition classroom in particular. suggests that social conditions are a primary cause of human agency and the creation of social formations. Draw ing on Untersteiner, I question current social conditions and the way in which contemporary rhetorical theory

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148 and composition practice relate to these issues. Finally, I argue for a reintegration of selected sophistic practices in contemporary composition theory. In the process, I speculate upon the connections I see between sophistry and rhetoric and composition, positing the composition instructor as a potential modern day sophist, or what remains possible after millennia of scorn begun by Plato. Pedago gical and Rhetorical Value of Sophistry The sophistic movement suggests numerous distinguishing characteristics although it was never a coherent and organized movement as such. Despite the numerous differences among individual sophists, the sophists shared a number of characteristics that allow a modern day definition to be elaborated. I address this differentiation before turning to the similarities that I deem valuable among the sophists. Most human matters can be expressed and practiced in positive and negative ways F or example, drugs, food, knowledge, rhetoric, advertising, even water can be used or abused to produce positive or negative results. The work p racticed by the sophists is no exception. this mean that the art is responsible or bad, but rather, I think, those who use it incorrectly. The argument would be the same in th The sophists put their techn to positive and negative uses. Gorgias, for instance persuaded Athens to help his hometown, Leontini in Sicily, against its belligerent neighbor Syracuse, leading to the war that eventually we akened Athens Patricia Bizzell and Bruce Herzberg

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149 statecraft helped to discredit it in the eyes of later thinkers such as Plato, Isocrates, and Aristotle, who lived amid the social a nd political turmoil that followed golden 23) Aside from specifics, the sophists instructed anyone who could pay their high fees 1 thereby positioning themselves as not distinguishing between those who w ould put sophistic techn to good or bad use. In addition, their epistemological relativism may be read as disregard for good practice. Nevertheless, the sophists also shared qualities, principles, and goals that can hold great value for the composition cl assroom today. The sophists and sophistic rhetoric, as such, however, are neither formal n or definitive classifications Then again, classifications in general are always somewhat suspect and often re constructed upon reexamination. One scholar in particul ar has argued against the notion of sophistic rhetoric In this early argument, Edward Schiappa calls attention to the lack of unifying traits needed to form a sophistic coherent whole and the use of the word rhetoric as never having been used by the ppa 7 16). Alt hough well argued, this view did not take account of the similarities between and the pioneering contributions of the sophists. Schiappa himse lf has revised his position the diversity of projects labeled sophistic (Enos 683). Andrea Greenbaum commends [for] allow [ing] contemporary s cholars to critique certain notions of disciplinarity, since the discursive nature of sophistic discourse makes it a 1 Hakan Tell

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150 creative theoretical tool in which to redefine and explore the epistemological boundaries uman categories classifications, and constructs could all be called like minded peers M ost philosophers, Richard Rorty among them, however, agree that we are manipulated by phenomenological force presuppose both human shared realit ies and a series of shared goals, qualities, and congruous The most important issue for many sophists was their common goal of encouraging arte by sustaining certain practices and methods, which I explore below. Most scholars agree that the sophists created the conditions that may lead to virtuous results The English rendition of this concept is virtue or excellence in political affairs. On e of the primary requirements of political arte is rhetorical dexterity, by which I mean the ability to speak/write, think, and read c ritically analytically and evaluatively Although the sophists did not use the word rhetoric to describe what they were teaching, they inevitably imparted rhetorical skills, regardless of the appellation used, for these are essential components of political arte In order to be successful in political affairs, an individual must be skilled in arguing, have a sound underst anding of, and think critically about political issues. The sophists teaching methods covered all these requirements, by question s to speak eloquently, and to pose coun (Herrick 37). All of these skills are part of rhetorical power. I use the word power deliberately to indicate the stakes that are at play in acquiring and having mastery of rhetoric, as I discuss below

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151 Other qualities shared by all sophists emerge clearly in numerous more accounts. These commonalities appear when one looks at those contributions that the sophists were the first to introduce. Werner Jaeger, in his seminal work on Greek paideia for example, declares that arte Paideia, Vol I, 289). Furthermore, Jaeger calls Isocrates, one if not the greatest educator in Western humanism, a sophist, asserting th at ( Paideia Vol. III, 48). The Cambridge Ancient History includes a section on sophisti c (Bowman et al 900). Even the authors of a traditional work as this one identify shared qualities among the sophists, identifying them as their status as public teachers, their fee charging, and their public declamations (900 01). Omar Swartz offers a useful list of the commonalities among the sophist, identifying the following six qua lities as being shared by all the sophists: the teaching of arte the emphasis on rhetoric, the charging for their services, the eristic tendency of their teaching, the tendency to engage in displays of epideictic oratory, and their ability to ability to perorate on any subject (68 69). Apart from the charging for their services, these qualities are all necessary for a citizen to engage fully in the political life of a democratic society. As I see it, the sophists encouraged political arte through rhetori cal practice, the great forerunners of Isocrates. The rhetorical value of sophistry is manifold but becomes of primary importance in a free society. A democracy entails free speech which requires rhetoric. That the

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152 sophists, as teachers of rhetoric, appear ed at the same time that democracy developed is no surprise, for the driving force of democracy, at least in theory, is the inclusion of all people in the political process. In order to participate, people must have the skills necessary to understand rheto rical power, for whether anyone likes it or not, rhetoric is omnipresent and pervasive, affecting every aspect of human interaction, particularly those aspects that can control the means of access. I contend that no aspect of human life and interaction is free of rhetoric. Friedrich Nietzsche in his On Rhetoric and Language advocates this position, proffering that, conscious art, had been active as a means of unconscious art in language and its which one could appeal; language itself is the result of purely rhetorical arts. The power to discover and to make operative that which works and impress es, with respect to each thing . is, at the same time, the essence of language; the latter is based just as little as rhetoric is upon that which is true, upon the essence of things. Language does not desire to instruct, but to convey to others a subje ctive impulse and its acceptance. (21) Rhetoric, then, is, consciously or unconsciously, a fact of human life, in which communication is in effect rhetoric. As Kenneth Burke has noted, rhetoric an essential function of language itself, a fun ction that is wholly realistic, and is continually born anew; the use of language as a symbolic means of inducing cooperation

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153 Rhetoric 43). In a tyranny or any other form of repressive political system, rhetori c, while still existing becomes subjected to coercive force. E very eligible individual began taking part in the political process when democracy emerged. T the first time in history a the Several scholars consider democracy as a utopia, having never been realized, neither in its birthplace 2,500 years ago nor in the United States today, for now as then access to democracy restricts those who participate. Nevertheless, democracy is the current political organization of this country and does offer considerable opportunities, providing individuals with the possibility of self determination, independence, and personal development. The ch allenge, then, lies in enabling individuals, particularly students, to recognize and employ these opportunities. Sophistry offers an approach for the epistemological questioning that could lead to transfo rmation and innovation needed to take advantage of democratic opportunities more fully. continual questioning despite the different conclusions of the sophists on social issues as part of what makes them similar Historic ally, the value of sophistry in terms of pedagogy lies in its universalizing of education and leveling of human ability. Education before the sophists did not go the first great forerunners . the first teachers of advanced education, appearing at a time when

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154 Greece had known nothing but sports trainers, foremen, and, in the academic field, humble (79). Jaeger goes as far as recognizing them as having founded pedagogy, indicating that revolutionize the way in which human beings in Western civilization viewed education La rivoluz ione pedagogica del movi mento sofistico, si origina qui n di da storia del pensiero occidentale, la possibilit di far nascere in individ uo la virt (57). Vignali presents the sophistic movement as a pedagogical revolution that stems from the absolute revaluation of education, which recognizes, for the first time in the history of Western thought, the possibility of inducing virtue within individuals. Education and the fostering of arte therefore, run parallel in the contributions of the sophists. Furthermore, their questioning of reality which caused them to be maligned and calumniated by Plato and others with claims to absolute truth, resurface in postmodernist views of the last century or so. In terms of their ontological relativism, they were thousands of years ahead of their time. Two basic tenets of their thought, therefore, are the possibility of teaching arte and relativism. Eve n though the sophists conceived of arte as markedly political, as explicitly claimed by Protagoras, Vignali finds another equally important element in their education, asserting that while the majority of scholars agree in considering sophistic education to be almost exclusively political, he views it as having a twofold value: political and ethical (58 59). The ethical component of their

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155 pedagogical practice relates to contemporary rhetorical and composition theory. Vignali and others make a cogent case f or this added dimension to sophistic pedagogy. In terms of pedagogical practice, the sophists added essential and concrete modifications to the revolutionary novelty of the possibility of teaching arte Vignali lists four subjects at the heart of sophisti c education: grammar, rhetoric, dialectic, and general culture (62). These subjects, however, do not comprise the entire educational system of the sophists. According to Luigi Gallinari, all the teachings of the sophists aimed at the formation of two main human types: 1) the successful individual, able to excel in society and reach elevated political positions, and 2) the new sophist (30). The sophists sought to form an individual constantly striving towards self improvement and socio political achievement, an individual able to determine, by way of his/her capacities, the course of his/her life through intellect and words dotato di criticit di pensiero, antidogmatico, uno spirit o libero abile nel parlare e quindi nel pens anti dogmatic individual equipped with critical thinking, a free spirit skillful in thinking and taking action. To do so, they aimed to instill a critical awareness and a sense of rad ical doubt toward knowledge and traditional values, clearing the way for their pedagogical practice, by refuting the rooted and dogmatic beliefs of their students (Vignali 74). These practices have a clear political relevance and importance within a democr atic system. To add ethical dimension to arte Vignali maintains that the sophists believed in an exact correspondence existed between thought, speech, and action, b ased on the "Anonymous Iamblichi (77). Lastly these pedagogical goals can be reached onl y

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156 if the student has some sort of natural predisposition and a passion toward learning. Therefore, the sophists had to be able to foster a desire for learning in the student. Achieving these goals, however, remains challenging. explor es the social conditions that initiated sophistic inquiry in classical Greece Untersteiner argues that the critical social conditions created issues and raised questions so pressing that they had to be addressed in order to be surpassed. These conditions were groundbreaking and unprecedented to the point that they sparked an innovative consciousness which introduced an inquisitive mindset. The social conditions in twenty first century United States do not seem less urgent and pressing that did those in cla ssical Athen s I now turn to the major issues that Untersteiner identifies during the pentecontaetia and how these may relate to current social conditions. Current Social Conditions and the (Sophistic) Composition Classroom One of the primary objectives of education in general and composition in particular should be to promote a questioning mindset within students a kind of epistemological gnoseological even self reflexive turn. This kind of thinking enables individuals not o nly to question their social conditions but also to promote beneficial effects in terms of our multicultural postmodern condition. Bruce McComiskey 35) These gnoseologic al concepts may help students achieve a questioning outlook toward social conditions and by extension writing. In terms of education, a questioning mindset helps students become critical citizens who can participate in the political process and perhaps ena ct change. In terms of composition, such a mindset is necessary

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157 for critical thinking and analytical writing. O Western thought and pedagogy a speculative attitude toward knowledge and the existing state of affairs ranks among the most revolutionary and useful approaches in a global social reality of the 21 st century One way of fostering a questioning mindset within students is to examine the basic premises of Western civilization as a means of understanding both th e current social condition s and the import of rhetoric and composition The ideas that appeared and circulated in Ancient Greece are by and large the bedrock of Western civilization informing and characteriz ing their contemporary Western social manifesta tions in terms of science, politics, philosophy, literature, drama, art, and architecture. The achievements of our Greek progenitors continue to shape our Western world as paradigms we aspire to equal to this day Although origins are inherently suspect, f or they presuppose a particular view of the world, certain development s in Ancient Greece mark both a definite shift from former ways of view ing the world and the institution of the principles, values, and ideals still very much in place today. In line wit h this thinking, David Fleming states that teachers of composition complex and rewarding course of study whose end was the competent and sensitive Retur ning to the se origins therefore can facilitate understanding and questioning of contemporary social situations while serv ing as a pedagogical tool within the composition classroom. The study of the origins of Western civilization fits naturally within t he composition classroom curriculum. For one, c omposition can be considered the modern

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158 day incarnation of rhetoric, which also originates as a systematic field of study in Ancient Greece A s with any field of study, revisiting the history of the subject he lps the pedagogical process by contextualizing the present materialization of the subject In particular, s tudying the inception of classical rhetoric serves the dual purpose of 1) exposing students to the historical events and circumstances that inaugurat ed Western civilization and 2) introducing the concept of rhetoric and its bearings upon human existence. That students are largely unaware of Greek history is to be expected; however, I find it curious, to say the least, that most students, and indeed mos t individuals, do not even know the basic meaning of the word rhetoric, except perhaps in a vague way and in its negative connotation, despite the intrinsic role of rhetoric within a democratic political system and the pervasiveness of rhetoric within huma n communities, particularly in those based on freedom of speech. Indeed, I believe that this very unawareness lies at the root of the lack of questioning and examination of the social. By exploring the beginning of Western civilization particularly in rel ation to rhetoric, students can discover the roots of current social conditions and the power of rhetoric within society. These roots can expose themselves as assumptions that underlie the present The importance of historical knowledge for the understandi ng of the present hardly needs explanation. Exposing students to the historical events of Ancient Greece favors the understanding of not only the circumstances that gave rise to rhetoric and but also the conditions that initiated many of the values and asp irations in place today, such as individualism and political equality. More importantly, perhaps, revisiting the historical social conditions can play a role in determining what is at stake in knowing rhetoric and its power. I n order to understand

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159 and ques tion their social conditions, i ndividuals in general and students in particular must be aware of the derivation of the present social organization. Because the ideas that developed at this time influence current social dynamics, I believe that exploring th ese historical origins of Western civilization particularly in terms of rhetoric should be part of the composition curriculum. T his historical introduction and basic premise of rhetorical education includes the sophists and the role ascribed to them in Unt Le origini as questioners of social issues. Revisiting the social issues of Ancient Greece and without inciting the common student resistance to compositi on Student resistance to writing instruction is a well known phenomenon. Karen Kopelson calls attention to this tendency, arguing teaching have evolved in more cultural studies resistance has evolved from a rudimentary resistance to the writing course per se into 117). wit hout content, to involve little more than impartial instruction in the transferable and A composition course without content, however, in addition to being unattainable since rhetoric necessarily includes conten t is also ineffective in terms of encouraging the type of civic engagement, or political arte be especially ineffective, and even counterproductive, for the teacher subject who is immediately read by students as belonging to any . .margi

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160 teachers, I extend her argument to include composition instructo rs calling for social questioning because many students consider instructors, especially composition ones, as bookish academics promoting their own liberal views Kopelson theorizes as a countermeasure for resistance sible pedagogical tactic that . minimizes [student] rhetoric, its beginning in Ancient Greece, and the role of the sophists in questioning the state of affairs can serve as such a mtis to advance student interest in contemporary issues and the thinking/writing process around these issues without inciting the common resistance students have to ward composition. The social issue s that captivated the sophists essay may function as a pedagogical possibili ty for such questioning. Some of the social issues that Untersteiner describes a re currently occurring in the United S tates Untersteiner delineates several social events that took place during the pentecontaetia, positing them as stimulating the developme nt of sophistry. More specifically, t he falling of physical barriers between social groups, the expansion of commerce, and the incursion of metics or alien residents broaden ed the cultural milieu thereby generating new ideas as well as promot ing new politi cal and philosophical systems to address them. These social issues resemble many of the issues in the U.S. today: globalization and the World Wide Web not only dissolve barriers between cultures but also introduce new cross cultural

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161 ideas beyond physical b orders. In Ancient Greece, however, they contributed to the dissolution, albeit partial and temporary, of the aristocracy. The decline of the explanations for the development of sophistry. When the aristo cracy ceased to control the way in which the public imagination viewed individuals, new areas of freedom arose. The aristocracy responded by grasping on to traditional values and eternal ideas, which provided fertile ground for sophistic interpretation Un tersteiner argues that the preeminence of the collective interest decreased individualism due to the universal ideas that impeded any autonomous gesture The antithesis community individual was a momentous issue in the age democracy appeared. Jaeger under which ceaselessly exercised all philosophers until the city that app This problem also receives extensive treatment in an outstanding study by Suzanne Keller on how a human community emerges. She posits the polis as the center of Furthermore, Keller continues: Not unlike two thousand years later, however, another prominent theme vied with the polis to create famili ar and stressful contradictions: the theme of individual glory, as exemplified by the victors in athletic contests. These victors were a

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162 source of pride, since they brought honor to the entire polis, and they were celeb rated in song and story. Yet the contests also encouraged a self aggrandizement and self centeredness inimical to the sense of community. for riches scarcely ever again equal the spiritual u nity of the polis. (19) This tension, as Keller announces survives to this day. According to Jaeger, however, tate ( Paideia Vol 1, xxvi). of ruling class is meant to serve the happiness of the whole community, and the happiness of the community can be ensured only if everyone does his own work and noth ( Paideia (336). By a ddressing the issue of community versus individual in Ancient Greece, composition instructors can create an opportunity for analysis of the current state of this ancient problem. This analysis can be enacted in various ways. I turn to Kenneth Burke and his discussion in A Rhetoric of Motives regarding individuals being their own audience. He argues that, [s]uch considerations make us alert to the in gredient of rhetoric in all socialization considered as moralizing process. The individual person, striving to form him[/her]self in accordance with the communicative norms that match the

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163 cooperative ways of his society, is by the same token concerned wit h the rhetoric of identification. To act upon him[/her]self persuasively, [s/]he must variously such pressure upon him[/her] from without; [s/]he completes the process from within. If [s/]he does not somehow act to tell him[/her]self (as his[/her] own audience) what the various brands of rhetorician have told him, his persuasion is not complete. Only those voices from without are effective which can speak in the language of a voice within. (39) I quote at length because this line of reasoning exemplifies the consequence of rhetoric within the community individual antithesis. In order to succeed, rhetoric must consider audience. As a result, individuals must partake in self p ersuasion in order for values, beliefs, and eternal ideas such as those the aristocracy latched onto when its power was threatened to operate successfully Composition instructors can enable students to formulate correlations by turning to cultural studie s. As discussed above, Vignali consider s general culture as one of the four subjects of sophistic education. General culture is the object of analysis of cultural studies, which takes on every aspect of social conditions. Henry Giroux as he extensively di scusses in a number of books and articles, considers the media to be the strongest pedagogical force in our society, manipulating perception to maintain the current power structure. Students can analyze social matters such as the ones Untersteiner identifi es as having generated sophistry. Individualism, community, and (current equivalents of)

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164 aristocratic dynasties, among others, lend themselves to the kind of analysis composition asks of students. While the aristocracy may seem an entity of the past, mammo th income discrepancies exist in contemporary society. Untersteiner argues that despite the innovative democratic currents, the people remained inclined toward ancient traditions and recognized the superiority and ability of the aristocracy as guides for t he people. Thus, the aristocracy retained its power as the heads of the democracy. As an instance of mtis exposing students to the discrepancies and contradictions in Ancient Greece may trigger a similar analysis of our current state of affairs. To carry out such analysis and seek possible correlations, students can turn to investigating current social dynamics Even a cursory glance at the social dynamics currently in place r eveals a kind of postmodern aristocracy. These days, as James Berlin points out, however, proves particularly insidious, as concealed if not more so as that identified by Untersteiner i n Ancient Greece. Students can exa mine cult ural industries to find representations of individualism and community and the role of the media in advancing cultural standards and democratic values. T he role and purpose of the media within a democratic political system is paramount and a n instance of g eneral culture T he media are supposed to protect and advance democratic values. In a way, the media should pose questions regarding social conditions very much like the sophists did two and a half millennia ago. Michael McChesney has written extensively r egarding the connection between democracy and the media, finding the media to be largely unsatisfactory In The Problem of the Media he

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165 controlled by a small numbe r of wealthy firms or individuals, who use their power to In discussing the political nature of the problem of government are premi sed on having an informed citizenry, and the creation of such an Without the possibility of non commercially interested platforms, such as would have been the agora in ancient Greece, the voices of groups o f thinkers such as the sophists have no chance of being heard; therefore, although such opinions are definitely occurring in a number of subcultures, they are certainly not broadcast and therefore cannot compete with those circulated by the mass media in o ur society. Students can thus compar e the issues dealt with by the sophists as expressed by Untersteiner in a contemporary context. I am arguing for a composition theory that takes account of current social conditions, that looks at our society critically, asking questions, as the sophists did, regarding the status of our social reality. By exploring the inconsistencies in our social condition and political situation, students develop an awareness that the media and a largely absent public sphere do not pro vide. This goal can be achieved in many ways, one of which is by analyzing historical circumstances and identifying the inconsistencies of the time to draw parallels to the present. Omar Swartz offers an example from the birthplace of our current political system: [s]erious contradictions existed in Ancient Athens between its self image and its behaviors. . [T]he purpose of point ing out these contradictions is not to laugh at

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166 Rather, the point is to recognize that all societies have their contradictions and that our critical energies need to be spent on learning to recognize our own can we ameliora te the suffering of its victims. What we can do is to recognize that the contradictions between our own self images and our behaviors contribute to our own legacy of suffering. By acknowledging this point, we can direct our critical actions toward reducing the suffering t hat we have some control over. (29 30) I interpret this passage as pointing to the ethnocentrism (and ethnologics) inherent in everyone. The most anyone can do is to be aware of his/her own ethnocentrism. I find paradoxical that the views of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle have survived in conjunction with democracy, for these philosophers were explicitly opposed to democracy. Marrou nti springboard for students to question their own social conditions. Rather than espousing one pedagogical theory over another, I propose a pedagogy that deploys any of them according to the aim of discourse, as envisioned by James Kinneavy and others. Exploding the either/or binary, I argue for both/and approach to composition theory, whereby each composition theory becomes useful based on the purpose the student rhetor has. More specifically composition theory of Peter Elbow and other expressionists, rather than be embraced or rejected, becomes useful for assignments

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167 in which the aim is expression of feelings. Likewise, a cognitivist approach becomes useful when the aim is referential, to bo discourse, while the various socio epistemic and rhetorical theories aid the invention of a persuasive aim. Composition Teachers as Sophists The university, the humanities, English studies, and particularl y rhetorical subjects such as composition and writing remain some of the few places in which individuals can practice and learn the rhetorical abilities necessary for them to be active members in a democratic society. The United States today not only consi ders itself the ultimate incarnation of democracy but also claims to wish this form of government among the purportedly less fortunate non democratic nations, as made clear within the primary foreign policy interests of the U.S. However, a s Omar Swartz arg ues, If democracy has any rationale at all, it is that the more people who contribute to the logos, the richer our understanding will be of our political realities. This is one of the reasons why, functionally speaking, we cannot really characterize the compet ing logos. (Swartz 67) I argue that the United States is not fulfilling most democratic ideals and as modern day sophists, composition instructors are among the few voices tha t can encourage students to

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168 examine and question the existing state of affairs, both as a rhetorical/composition exercise and as an ethical/civic responsibility Critical literacy requires this type of questioning, for a society that ceases to be interroga tive becomes passive to the representations presented by powerful media conglomerates Ideas such as those of the sophists should be a central part of a democracy through the media. However, as the work of Robert McChesney reveals the major role which the media should play within the realization of a democratic society remains extremely lacking. In ancient Athens, citizens would argue and persuade one another in favor of certain routes of action over others; i n the U.S. today that role remains outside of t beyond the inner circles and conversations of academics and underground subculture s The type of speculative discourse offered by the sophists is exactly what lacks in our democratic society today, particularly in the U.S., although other industrialized countries share this feature. The sophists can be viewed as public intellectuals and compared both to modern day university scholars and composition instructors. I argue for the importance of reestablishing the role of the public intellectual, both in the composition classroom and the society at large. The sophists carried out myriad ty pes of social questioning Catherine Osborne maintains raison d'tre its political beliefs, its moral values, its religious beliefs, its educational system, its legal codes, and its codes Untersteiner considers all these issues in his germinal essay, presenting them as the impetus behind the development of the sophistic movement. As

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169 the originators of Western paideia and rhetoric, the goals of the sophists should coincide with those of com position teachers. Sharon Crowley discusses the similarities and differences between the s ophists and teachers of writing: Sophistic pedagogy bore one striking similarity to that of contemporary writing teachers in that the Sophists instructed their stud ents in discursive practice rather than focusing on the pursuit of abstract knowledge for its own sake. . But the educational practices of the Sophists were markedly different from our own in one important respect: Modern teachers do not often think of themselves as professional participants in political or social issues. ( 330) engaged in Sophistry; and, because of this, that they cannot escape the public aspect of of English, should embrace this objective. r way of enacting democratic principles necessarily falls in the hands of Rhetoric and Composition scholars and instructors as modern day rhetoricians and sophists. Already in the mid nineties, James Berlin noted that to challenges in our understanding of the subject, 48). The shift he identifies is very similar to the one that occurred in classical Greece and which is discussed in Unters

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170 individualism, gnoseology, and constitutional crises. Berlin goes further by discussing knowledge from a democratic political perspective: knowledge is a good that ou gh t to serve the interest of the larger community as well as individuals. . It must be situated, however, in relation to larger economic, social, political and cultural considerations. Students must learn to locate the beneficiaries and the victims of knowledge, exerting their ri ghts as citizens in a democracy to criticize freely those in power. (52) Similarly, Henry Giroux echoes this opinion, for him the goal of education in a world mark ed by increasing poverty, unemployment, and diminished social opportunities, educators must vindicate the crucial connection between culture and politics in defending iss ues increasingly continue to affect our students. Pedagogy, rhetoric, and democracy are interrelated concepts that comprise the current historical condition of the composition teacher and his/her work preparing students Henry Giroux argues that providing the knowledge, skills, and values to address the most pressing questions of our time is a vital element of this mission, corroborating academics as engaged public intellectuals be reformulated (37). Similarly,

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171 rationalist idea o f community constitutes the fundamental problem for Prot agoras and many other sophists. One way to achieve this modification in the role of composition instructors is to add sophistic rhetorics to tradition al Aristotelian rhetoric A ccording to Jane Sutton On Rhetoric ates metaphor possible individualistic generative actualization of human potential (153 54). As teachers of rhetoric, composition instructors should embrace this element of their sophistic ancestry. The resemb lance between the sophists and composition instructors today also lies in the place they occupy in society Much in the same way that Plato and his followers attempted, successfully albeit, to soil the importance of rhetoric and its primary supporters the sophists, the media in modern day U.S. do nothing to encourage citizen rhetorical education and participation in democratic practice. While many composition theorists argue that the composition classroom is not the place for politics, I contend that even though the composition classroom may not be an ideal site, it is one of the only site s for students to be exposed and instructed in this kind of necessary rhetorical preparation. Further, politics is always already present, whether it is acknowledged or no t. As James Berlin persuasively argues in Rhetorics, Poetics, and Cultures: Refiguring C ollege English Studies, impossible for us to separate literary and rhetorical texts from poli tical life as it was for Democratic states should not merely pay lip service to the wor

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172 concrete freedom, one based in a mutual respect betw een human beings. In a democratic society, there is no room for racism, sexism, homophobia, a state religion, and a material Swartz 30). teachers of rhetoric can, indeed must, reclaim their birthright by reasserting the centrality of rhetoric to democratic life in the twenty The composition instructor ought to promote the conditions of such political and civic engagement because of the role that rhetoric plays in th e democratic system. The goal for composition instructors is to recover discuss, and encourage a sense of arte in a postmodern sense become a certain kind of person, one who has internalized the and intellectual development of the student, who is seen primarily as a future citizen in a community of inextricably involved in the character y encouraging students to be gnoseologically critical composition instructors as sophists can contribute to promoting a postmodern arte Being gnoseologically critical does not deny the existence of truth; rather As most Soph ists would argue, knowledge and truth mutate according to context and times. n, like all others, may be questioned and superseded, revisited and appreciated, misunderstood and reinterpreted. Despite everything it may undergo, one constant remains, and that is that social conditions create truth /s. E verything changes, yet nothing ch anges. This apparent and inherent paradox encloses within itself

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173 and discloses a tru th that the sophists held dear. My main point is that what the sophists taught, rhetoric, is not in itself good or evil. Much like food, drugs, television, and any other su bstance or practice that can be abused, rhetoric comes to life and can be put to good or bad use. In itself rhetoric is nothing and everything: nothing for, as Socrates make s Gorgias admit in the Gorgias it does not have a conventional subject of study; a nd everything for it covers every subject which one can discuss when using it, as well as its own theoretical underpinning Undeniably, humans use rhetoric every day, for it is what drives human identity and community. The pedagogy I have sketched and the role of composition instructors as sophists aim to help students go from being unaware rhetors, understood as those who practice rhetoric, to being conscious rhetoricians, as in those who study and know rhetoric, so as to not be victims of it, for undeniab ly, t hose who know rhetoric in Western democracies, such as attorneys, advertisers, and politicians/speech writers, a re rhetoricians who hold disproportionate power over those who do not know it ion, we need to recapture this focus on the language user as citizen should take on this challenge. By translating a treatise about the social origins of sophistry, I make a case for the reinsertion of this ancient profession and its primary principles into the composition classroom. Rhetoric and Composition scholars have a hefty mission in their hands, for not only do we teach young students who have many other concerns but also we teach a subject that has fallen into disregard and is not considered valuable by most students. Whatever one what may say about sophistry, whether one agrees with its ten ets or not, a

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174 form of thought or group of thinke rs that challenges, educates, and most of all, perhaps, questions the current state of affairs is not only beneficial but absolutely necessary for a democratic society that fulfils even only the most basic elements of democracy. I hope that this dissertati on will make not merely another contribution but a call for the revival of such thought in our composition classrooms and society.

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198 A b o u t t h e A u t h o r E l i s a b e t h L o F a r o r e c e i v e d a B a c h e l o r s D e g r e e i n W r i t i n g f r o m M i d d l e s e x U n i v e r s i t y L o n d o n i n 1 9 9 9 a n d a M a s t e r s D e g r e e i n E n g l i s h f r o m t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a ( U S F ) i n 2 0 0 2 S h e h a s b e e n t e a c h i n g c o m p o s i t i o n a n d l i t e r a t u r e c o u r s e s a t U S F s i n c e 1 9 9 9 a n d h a s s e r v e d a s e d i t o r i a l a n d r e s e a r c h a s s i s t a n t a s w e l l p r e s e n t i n g a t n u m e r o u s n a t i o n a l c o n f e r e n c e s


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