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Headword: *prwtago/ras
Adler number: pi,2958
Translated headword: Protagoras
Vetting Status: high
Of Abdera;[1] son of Artemon, or of Maeandrides or Neandrius; some write that he was from Teos. Originally he was a porter, but on meeting Democritus[2] he fell in love with discourse, became a philosopher and then turned to rhetoric. He was the first to be called a sophist, and the first to invent eristic arguments and make a contest of speeches, and to charge his pupils (100 minas - for which reason he was nicknamed 'Speech for Hire'). He was the teacher of the rhetor Isocrates.[3]
He was the first to divide all discourse into four: wish, question, answer, command. After him others made a division into seven, as follows: narration, question, answer, command, statement, wish, appellation. Alcidamas[4] says there are four kinds of discourse: assertion, denial, question, address.
Protagoras' books were burned by the Athenians, because he once made a speech which began like this: 'About the gods I can know nothing - neither that they exist, nor that they do not exist'. He was older than the philosopher Plato.[5] He was the teacher of Prodicus of Ceos[6] and many others.
Greek Original:
*prwtago/ras, *)abdhri/ths, ui(o\s *)arte/mwnos h)\ kai\ *maiandri/dou h)\ *neandri/ou. tine\s de\ au)to\n kai\ *th/i+on e)/grayan. ou(=tos pro/teron h)=n fortobasta/kths, e)ntuxw\n de\ *dhmokri/tw| h)ra/sqh lo/gwn kai\ filosofh/sas e)pi\ r(htorei/an e)tra/ph. kai\ e)peklh/qh prw=tos ou(=tos sofisth/s, prw=tos te ou(=tos tou\s e)ristikou\s lo/gous eu(=re kai\ a)gw=na lo/gwn e)poih/sato kai\ misqo\n e)/prace tou\s maqhta\s mna=s r#: dio\ kai\ e)peklh/qh *lo/gos e)/mmisqos. dida/skalos de\ ge/gone kai\ tou= r(h/toros *)isokra/tous. diei=le/ te pa/nta lo/gon prw=tos ou(=tos ei)s te/ssara: eu)xwlh/n, e)rw/thsin, a)po/krisin, e)ntolh/n: meta\ de\ tou=ton e(/teroi ei)s z# diei=lon tau=ta: dih/ghsin, e)rw/thsin, a)po/krisin, e)ntolh/n, ei)saggeli/an, eu)xwlh/n, klh=sin. *)alkida/mas de\ te/ssaras ei)=nai/ fhsin i)de/as lo/gwn: fa/sin, a)po/fasin, e)rw/thsin, prosago/reusin. tou= de\ *prwtago/rou ta\ bibli/a u(po\ *)aqhnai/wn e)kau/qh, dio/ti lo/gon pote\ ei)=pen ou(/tws a)rca/menos: peri\ qew=n ou)k e)/xw ei)de/nai, ou)/te w(/s ei)sin, ou)/te w(s ou)k ei)si/. kai\ presbu/tero/s e)sti *pla/twnos tou= filoso/fou: dida/skalos de\ *prodi/kou tou= *kei/ou kai\ a)/llwn pollw=n.
c.490-420 BC. See generally RE Protagoras(1); OCD4 Protagoras; DK 80; Philostratus, Lives of the Sophists 1.10; Diogenes Laertius 9.50-56.
[1] Barrington Atlas map 51 grid D3; present-day Avdira.
[2] [delta 447] Democritus, also from Abdera.
[3] [iota 652] Isocrates.
[4] [alpha 1283] Alcidamas.
[5] [pi 1707] Plato.
[6] [pi 2365] Prodicus.
Keywords: biography; chronology; economics; geography; philosophy; religion; rhetoric
Translated by: Malcolm Heath on 26 March 1999@15:02:18.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (Added keyword; raised status.) on 25 September 2000@17:45:08.
David Whitehead (added note; cosmetics) on 13 September 2002@08:45:53.
David Whitehead (more notes and keywords; cosmetics) on 29 November 2011@04:35:08.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 2 August 2014@11:47:46.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 11 December 2014@01:26:20.


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