Stephen V. Tracy

in Pericles

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780520256033
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520943629 | DOI:

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Protagoras of Abdera, the most famous sophist of the age, visited Athens on several occasions, probably for extended periods of time. He came once about 443 B.C. in preparation for creating a law code for the settlement at Thurii. Pericles almost certainly picked him for the task. Plato in his Protagoras records another visit about 432. In that dialogue he depicts Pericles' sons, Xanthippus and Paralus, as present at his discourse, which takes place at the home of Callias, their half brother on their mother's side. Protagoras, who was born about 490 and died about 420, was just slightly younger than Pericles and probably knew him very well. Despite Protagoras's importance, almost nothing of his writings has survived. It is intriguing, then, for understanding the relationship between Pericles and Protagoras, that the one substantial fragment that remains of his writings expresses his admiration for Pericles' behavior in the face of the deaths of his sons from the onslaught of the plague in the summer of 430.

Keywords: Protagoras; Pericles; Athens; plague; Plato; Thurii; Xanthippus; Paralus

Chapter.  833 words. 

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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