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Headword: Πρωταγόρας
Adler number: pi,2958
Translated headword: Protagoras
Vetting Status: high
Translation:
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:
Πρωταγόρας, Ἀβδηρίτης, υἱὸς Ἀρτέμωνος ἢ καὶ Μαιανδρίδου ἢ Νεανδρίου. τινὲς δὲ αὐτὸν καὶ Τήϊον ἔγραψαν. οὗτος πρότερον ἦν φορτοβαστάκτης, ἐντυχὼν δὲ Δημοκρίτῳ ἠράσθη λόγων καὶ φιλοσοφήσας ἐπὶ ῥητορείαν ἐτράπη. καὶ ἐπεκλήθη πρῶτος οὗτος σοφιστής, πρῶτος τε οὗτος τοὺς ἐριστικοὺς λόγους εὗρε καὶ ἀγῶνα λόγων ἐποιήσατο καὶ μισθὸν ἔπραξε τοὺς μαθητὰς μνᾶς ρ#: διὸ καὶ ἐπεκλήθη Λόγος ἔμμισθος. διδάσκαλος δὲ γέγονε καὶ τοῦ ῥήτορος Ἰσοκράτους. διεῖλέ τε πάντα λόγον πρῶτος οὗτος εἰς τέσσαρα: εὐχωλήν, ἐρώτησιν, ἀπόκρισιν, ἐντολήν: μετὰ δὲ τοῦτον ἕτεροι εἰς ζ# διεῖλον ταῦτα: διήγησιν, ἐρώτησιν, ἀπόκρισιν, ἐντολήν, εἰσαγγελίαν, εὐχωλήν, κλῆσιν. Ἀλκιδάμας δὲ τέσσαρας εἶναί φησιν ἰδέας λόγων: φάσιν, ἀπόφασιν, ἐρώτησιν, προσαγόρευσιν. τοῦ δὲ Πρωταγόρου τὰ βιβλία ὑπὸ Ἀθηναίων ἐκαύθη, διότι λόγον ποτὲ εἶπεν οὕτως ἀρξάμενος: περὶ θεῶν οὐκ ἔχω εἰδέναι, οὔτε ὥς εἰσιν, οὔτε ὡς οὐκ εἰσί. καὶ πρεσβύτερός ἐστι Πλάτωνος τοῦ φιλοσόφου: διδάσκαλος δὲ Προδίκου τοῦ Κείου καὶ ἄλλων πολλῶν.
Notes:
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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