Plato’s Counterfeit Sophists

  Tell, Håkan. 2011. Plato's Counterfeit Sophists. Hellenic Studies Series 44. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies.

3. Sophoi and Concord

In this chapter we shall examine the theme of concord (ὁμόνοια), which figures so prominently in the sources on the sophists. The aim is to advance our understanding of this concept beyond Kerferd’s pessimistic verdict: “It is … a matter for regret that it is simply not possible to recover the history of the term in fifth-century thought.” [1] The discourse on concord offers an ideal case study to explore the intellectual continuities discussed up to this point. It links the sophists to contemporary and earlier practitioners of wisdom, dating all the way back to the Seven Sages. Better understanding these continuities, in turn, will allow us to appreciate how integrated the sophists were in the Greek wisdom tradition, and also offer a corrective view to the Platonic insistence on the sophists’ unique status.

We shall approach this topic by surveying the sources on the sophists to see in what contexts their calls to ὁμόνοια appear. We shall then consider the historical uses of the term beyond the sophists, broadening our exploration by moving away from an exclusive consideration of the word ὁμόνοια to a broader investigation of the theme of concord. This broader scope will direct us to the practices of the early lawgivers and sages, but we shall also consider in this context poetic and choral expressions of concord and equality. By exploring concord thematically, we can recover practices and preoccupations shared by a diverse group of sophoi. In the process, we shall see how the sophists were the inheritors of an intellectual discourse that traces its origins back to the beginning of the Greek wisdom tradition.

The History of the Discourse on Concord

It is not clear when ὁμόνοια was first used by any Greek author. [11] Kramer argues that it was coined sometime after the 450s BCE as a response to the growing political turmoil in the Greek city-states. In such a period of factionalism, says Kramer, it is easy to understand that wise men persuaded their cities to practice concord among each other, and the sophists were the first to do so. [12] In promoting this belief, however, Kramer had to dismiss several sources that point to an earlier use of the word. Plutarch preserves an account about Heraclitus who, it is said, was invited by his citizens to speak on the topic of concord: [13]

The same story is told by Themistius, [
15] but he never mentions concord. Instead he tells us that Ephesus was under siege at that time and hanging onto life by a thread, and that Heraclitus was thus recommending a rationing of food. This siege is not mentioned by Plutarch, however, and some have argued that he confused the historical circumstances. [16] Such confusion would disqualify Plutarch as a trustworthy source for the use of ὁμόνοια before the 450s BCE.

Thucydides uses the word twice. It is first employed (8.75) in the oaths sworn by the Athenian soldiers at Samos in 411 BCE in the attempts of Thrasybulus and Thrasyllus to reconcile the democrats and oligarchs in face of the recent coup of the Four Hundred in Athens. The second use (8.93) relates to the same year, when Athenian hoplites in Piraeus were engaged in building a wall at Eetionia. Since they suspected that it would only serve to help the Four Hundred receive a Spartan fleet, they tore it down and marched on the city to overthrow the Four Hundred. Before reaching the city, however, they were won over by people sent out by the Four Hundred and agreed to hold an assembly on the theme of concord.

Aristotle uses the word with reference to the situation in 403, when the Spartan king Pausanias had facilitated reconciliation between the factions in Athens that had been for and against the rule of the Thirty. The terms of the agreement stipulated that the Thirty repay Sparta separately what they had borrowed for the war, but the Athenians decided to repay the loans from the public funds, since they thought that this was the necessary first step for reconciliation (ἡγούμενοι τοῦτο πρῶτον ἄρχειν δεῖν τῆς ὁμονοίας). [35] This action receives strong approval from Aristotle. [36] Both Isocrates and Demosthenes mention this decision to repay the loans from public money, and they also ascribe it to a desire to promote ὁμόνοια. [37] The events that played out at the end of the fifth century that led up to the amnesty of 403 were later referred to as a praiseworthy example of how internal dissension was turned into concord by the courage and wisdom of the democrats who led the opposition against the Thirty from Piraeus. [38] In this set of examples ὁμόνοια becomes almost synonymous with the reconciliation that took place after the Thirty; this has motivated a number of scholars to conclude that the word arose in response to the fierce factionalism prevalent during the Peloponnesian War. [39] It is interesting to note, however, that Aristotle brings an economic dimension to his use of ὁμόνοια: the decision to repay the debt to Sparta from the public funds initiated the process of concord. The alternative, as Aristotle says in his appraisal of this action, would have been a total redistribution of land by the democrats after they seized power. [40] Economic moderation is a theme that reoccurs with some frequency in our sources on concord, and we will have occasion to revisit it at greater length later in this chapter.

In the beginning of the speech, Lysias tells the story of how Heracles founded the Olympic Games and instituted two kinds of competition, one athletic and one intellectual. The reason why Heracles did this, Lysias goes on to explain, was because of the beneficial effects it would have on the Greeks:

ἡγήσατο γὰρ τὸν ἐνθάδε σύλλογον ἀρχὴν γενήσεσθαι τοῖς Ἕλλησι τῆς πρὸς ἀλλήλους φιλίας.

Lysias stresses the unifying force of the Olympic Games (and all other Panhellenic games, one may surmise) and, given the result of his call—the audience indeed looted the tents of Dionysius at the games—it seems reasonable to assume that he spoke to well-rooted conceptions of unity and common Greek identity that were cultivated through the institution of the Panhellenic games. That is precisely what makes them the perfect arena for his address of internal unity and external aggression. Herodotus (8.26) gives another example of the unifying force of the Olympic Games. After the battle at Thermopylae, some Arcadians approached the Persians in search of food and employment, and when asked what the Greeks were up to, they responded that they were celebrating the Olympic Games. When asked what the prize (κείμενον) was over which they were competing, they answered that it was a wreath of olive leaves. Upon hearing this, one of the Persians cried out in distress that they had to face men who do not compete for money but honor (οἳ οὐ περὶ χρημάτων τὸν ἀγῶνα ποιεῦνται ἀλλὰ περὶ ἀρετῆς). Herodotus, in addressing a Greek audience, skillfully uses the Persian bewilderment to comment on the formative experience that the celebration of the Olympic Games entails, an experience that in Herodotus’ narrative is so peculiarly Greek so as to be unintelligible to non-Greeks. [
45] The conclusion—that Greeks value honor higher than money—leaves little doubt as to the moral messages of the passage: the superiority of the Greek way of life, fostered and promoted at the Panhellenic centers. [46]

Flower draws mainly on Herodotus as a source to substantiate the existence of a Panhellenic discourse earlier than Gorgias’ Olympic Speech. [55] In Book 5.49.3–9, for example, Herodotus describes how Aristagoras during the Ionian Revolt went to Sparta to persuade Κing Cleomenes to attack Persia. This proposition is historically implausible but, as Flower says, it reveals “the thought patterns and agenda of Herodotus’ own times,” and can help illuminate the concerns discussed in the latter half of the fifth century. [56] If his interpretation is correct, Herodotus adapted the theme of a Persian invasion, relevant to a contemporary audience, and projected it back onto older events. Such displacement is at work in Book 6.84, for example, when Scythian representatives approach Cleomenes to discuss an attack on Persia in revenge for Darius’ attack on Scythia; and this theme is even put into the mouth of Xerxes (7.11) in discussing an invasion of Greece. The options, he says, are either for the Persians to conquer Greece first or to be subjugated by the Greeks. Especially relevant for our discussion of concord is a remark made by some Thebans to Mardonius in Book 9.2 as he was marching on Athens:

κατὰ μὲν γὰρ τὸ ἰσχυρὸν Ἕλληνας ὁμοφρονέοντας, οἵ περ καὶ πάρος ταὐτὰ ἐγίνωσκον, χαλεπὰ εἶναι περιγίνεσθαι καὶ ἅπασι ἀνθρώποισι.

As far as the strength of the Greeks is concerned, if they, who actually were united in the past, practiced concord, it would be difficult even for all men to overcome them.

Similar sentiments are expressed in Book 5.3 regarding the Thracians:

εἰ δὲ ὑπ’ ἑνὸς ἄρχοιτο ἢ φρονέοι κατὰ τὠυτό, ἄμαχόν τ’ ἂν εἴη καὶ πολλῷ κράτιστον πάντων ἐθνέων κατὰ γνώμην τὴν ἐμήν

If they were ruled by one man or were united, they would, in my opinion, be invincible and by far the most powerful people.

But, Herodotus adds, the Thracians are indeed incapable of such unity and are therefore weak (ἀσθενέες). This theme is also touched upon in Book 8.75, when Themistocles secretly sends a messenger over to the Persian fleet to urge them to attack the Greeks, since they, not practicing concord (οὔτε γὰρ ἀλλήλοισι ὁμοφρονέουσι), would put up no resistance. Finally, in Book 8.3, Herodotus gives the reason why the Athenians did not clash over the command of the fleet in 480; they were concerned about the survival of Greece (μέγα πεποιημένοι περιεῖναι τὴν Ἑλλάδα) and realized that, if they were to quarrel over the command, Greece would surely be lost. Herodotus approves of their reasoning with the comment that:

στάσις γὰρ ἔμφυλος πολέμου ὁμοφρονέοντος τοσούτῳ κάκιόν ἐστι ὅσῳ πόλεμος εἰρήνης

For a civil war is worse than a war of common consent by just as much as war is worse than peace.

In the Histories we can detect a clear preoccupation with the idea of invading Persia, a preoccupation addressed to a contemporary audience. Further, the theme of internal concord is intrinsically linked to external aggression. War is even described as bringing about concord (πολέμου ὁμοφρονέοντος). Stasis, on the other hand, generates weakness. This typology fits well with our findings on ὁμόνοια. There, too, we see the juxtaposition of stasis and concord, debilitation and prosperity. Although it is possible to discern thematic similarities between the two contexts, Herodotus never uses the word ὁμόνοια, instead favoring ὁμοφρονέειν and other periphrastic locutions, such as φρονέειν κατὰ τὠυτό.

In the Panathenaicus (177), Isocrates again focuses on the elevated status concord held in Sparta. He writes that after the Dorian invasion the members of the third tribe, the Lacedaemonians, were engaged in civil strife like none of the other Greeks (στασιάσαι … ὡς οὐδένας ἄλλους τῶν Ἑλλήνων). After the oligarchs got control, however, they set up a constitution that produced total concord among them. They instituted radical equality among themselves and excluded the rest of the population from having a share in it. [61] Isocrates condemns this setup and compares it to the ways of pirates. [62] He then falls into a dialogue with one of his former pupils, the panegyrist of the Lacedaemonians, who returns to the theme of concord and elaborates on the positive effects it has on Spartan society:

Xenophon also discusses concord in relation to Sparta, and puts it into the mouth of Pericles, the son of Pericles, to complain about the degenerate ways of the Athenians. Pericles asks when the Athenians will learn from the Spartans and adopt their observance of concord (ὁμονοήσουσιν). As things stand, he says, the Athenians’ lack of concord has enabled evil and cowardice to take root in the city, and much enmity and mutual hatred exists among the citizens. [
64] Polybius reports that Ephorus discussed Sparta (6.45.1) and says that he highly praised the political prudence of Lycurgus:

δυεῖν γὰρ ὄντων, δι’ ὧν σῴζεται πολίτευμα πᾶν, τῆς πρὸς τοὺς πολεμίους ἀνδρείας καὶ τῆς πρὸς σφᾶς αὐτοὺς ὁμονοίας, ἀνῃρηκότα τὴν πλεονεξίαν ἅμα ταύτῃ συνανῃρηκέναι πᾶσαν ἐμφύλιον διαφορὰν καὶ στάσιν· ᾗ καὶ Λακεδαιμονίους, ἐκτὸς ὄντας τῶν κακῶν τούτων, κάλλιστα τῶν Ἑλλήνων τὰ πρὸς σφᾶς αὐτοὺς πολιτεύεσθαι καὶ συμφρονεῖν ταὐτά.

Strabo (10.4.16) also quotes Ephorus as discussing concord, but includes the passage in his treatment of Crete. Since the account is so close to the one in Polybius, however, it seems reasonable to assume that it is derived from the same source (presumably Ephorus’ Histories). Strabo (10.4.17) makes it clear that Ephorus thought that most Spartan institutions originated in Crete and that the two states were fundamentally similar. Polybius (6.46.10) protests that Ephorus actually describes Crete and Sparta in identical language, despite their many differences, and that it is almost impossible to know which one he is talking about unless paying close attention to proper names. [
66] It is not surprising, then, if Strabo, perhaps mistakenly, included the discussion of concord in his treatment of Crete rather than Sparta. We will thus include Strabo’s Ephorus quotation as another illustrative example of the close thematic connection between concord and Sparta. Ephorus makes the point that for concord to prevail, dissension, which is fueled by greed and luxury, must first be removed. [67]

The last and fourth set of examples of concord sort under the rubric of philosophical and political treatises, since they all occur in theoretical discussions on society and government.

When concord is achieved, Democritus says, the polis can truly perform extraordinary deeds:

ἀπὸ ὁμονοίης τὰ μεγάλα ἔργα καὶ ταῖς πόλεσι τοὺς πολέμους δυνατὸν κατεργάζεσθαι, ἄλλως δ’ οὔ

Archytas expresses similar sentiments regarding concord and its impact on society:

στάσιν μὲν ἔπαυσεν, ὁμόνοιαν δὲ αὔξησεν λογισμὸς εὑρεθείς· πλεονεξία τε γὰρ οὐκ ἔστι τούτου γενομένου καὶ ἰσότας ἔστιν· τούτῳ γὰρ περὶ τῶν συναλλαγμάτων διαλλασσόμεθα. διὰ τοῦτον οὖν οἱ πένητες λαμβάνοντι παρὰ τῶν δυναμένων, οἵ τε πλούσιοι διδόντι τοῖς δεομένοις, πιστεύοντες ἀμφότεροι διὰ τούτω τὸ ἶσον ἕξειν.

Archytas contrasts concord with civil strife, which prevents the smooth operation of society. Democritus likewise describes the detrimental effects of civil strife in fragment 249:

στάσις ἐμφύλιος ἐς ἑκάτερα κακόν· καὶ γὰρ νικέουσι καὶ ἡσσωμένοις. ὁμοίη φθορή.

Civil strife is an evil on each side; both for the victors and losers. The destruction is equal.

Archytas affirms that correct reckoning (λογισμός), presumably his own Pythagorean philosophy, [
77] has the capacity to remove civil strife and enhance concord. This seems to be one of the most efficacious qualities of his wisdom, at least as far as society is concerned. Democritus describes both the benefits of concord and the destructive effects of civil strife, but he does not explicitly elaborate on his own role in promoting the one and avoiding the other. It would seem reasonable to assume, however, that his reflections on στάσις and ὁμόνοια are anchored, one way or another, in his own philosophy, although that relation is not clearly fleshed out in the preserved fragments.

Xenophon ascribes to Socrates a discussion of the social effects of concord:

ἀλλὰ μὴν καὶ ὁμόνοιά γε μέγιστόν τε ἀγαθὸν δοκεῖ ταῖς πόλεσιν εἶναι καὶ πλειστάκις ἐν αὐταῖς αἵ τε γερουσίαι καὶ οἱ ἄριστοι ἄνδρες παρακελεύονται τοῖς πολίταις ὁμονοεῖν, καὶ πανταχοῦ ἐν τῇ Ἑλλάδι νόμος κεῖται τοὺς πολίτας ὀμνύναι ὁμονοήσειν, καὶ πανταχοῦ ὀμνύουσι τὸν ὅρκον τοῦτον· οἶμαι δ’ ἐγὼ ταῦτα γίγνεσθαι οὐχ ὅπως τοὺς αὐτοὺς χοροὺς κρίνωσιν οἱ πολῖται, οὐδ’ ὅπως τοὺς αὐτοὺς αὐλητὰς ἐπαινῶσιν, οὐδ’ ὅπως τοὺς αὐτοὺς ποιητὰς αἱρῶνται, οὐδ’ ἵνα τοῖς αὐτοῖς ἥδωνται, ἀλλ’ ἵνα τοῖς νόμοις πείθωνται. τούτοις γὰρ τῶν πολιτῶν ἐμμενόντων, αἱ πόλεις ἰσχυρόταταί τε καὶ εὐδαιμονέσταται γίγνονται· ἄνευ δὲ ὁμονοίας οὔτ’ ἂν πόλις εὖ πολιτευθείη οὔτ’ οἶκος καλῶς οἰκηθείη

All four examples above discuss concord as a phenomenon common to the whole of Greece (αἱ πόλεις, πανταχοῦ ἐν τῇ Ἑλλάδι, etc.) and assume that its implementation is a concern for every community. The Panhellenic point of view these texts espouse, that is, that civil strife is a universal threat and concord a benefit to every polis, belies the understanding of concord as an exclusively Athenian concern, emerging first in the late fifth century BCE. Our sources clearly characterize concord as a preoccupation for all Greek poleis without precise historical framework.

The discussion up to this point has introduced a variety of authors who discuss the merits of concord in a variety of contexts. This range of contexts is another reason why we might question how Athenian this theme was. Should we not allow for the possibility that it had applications elsewhere (Olympia, for example, or Sparta)? Further, by pursuing a strictly philological investigation concerned exclusively with the employment of a single word and ignoring the broader thematic typology, do we not run the danger of divesting concord of the force and meaning that it had acquired over time? In what follows we shall attempt to outline what such a broader typology might entail, and we shall pay particular attention to the sophists’ historical predecessors in promoting concord.

The Thematic Typology of Concord

Apart from his suggestion of creating a common council for all the Ionians, Thales is also said to have given excellent political advice to his city. He aborted Croesus’ attempt to create a political alliance between Miletus and the Lydians, and this proved the city’s salvation when Cyrus was victorious. [83] Herodotus (1.170) relates how Bias of Priene, at the onslaught of the Persians, advised the Ionians at a pan-Ionic gathering to go together to Sardinia and found a new city for all the Ionians (πόλιν μίαν κτίζειν πάντων Ἰώνων). Empedocles’ father seems to have been an important figure in turning Acragas into a democracy after the expulsion of the tyrant Thrasydaeus, and when, after the father’s death, despotic tendencies once again arose:

εἶτα τὸν Ἐμπεδοκλέα πεῖσαι τοὺς Ἀκραγαντίνους παύσασθαι μὲν τῶν στάσεων, ἰσότητα δὲ πολιτικὴν ἀσκεῖν.

Diogenes Laertius relates another incident where Empedocles spoke against the public funding of a memorial of one of the city’s most famous physicians, and he did so “discoursing about equality” (περὶ ἰσότητος διαλεχθείς). [
85] We also hear that he broke up an oligarchic assembly called the Thousand in favor of the democracy, and that he saved the people of Selinus from pestilence by bringing two neighboring rivers to cleanse their city. [86]

In these examples, both Thales and Empedocles are represented as promoting the well-being of their poleis by directly intervening in the political issues of the day. Thales first sought to unify all the Ionians against the Persians, and he then encouraged Miletus to resist the invitations from the Lydians. This amounts to an external as well as internal solidification of Miletus. Empedocles’ goal, likewise, seems to have been to prevent civil discord, and this he did by speaking out against the factionalism practiced by the citizens and by promoting reconciliation among the various groups. Empedocles’ intervention (παύσασθαι μὲν τῶν στάσεων) echoes the words of Archytas (στάσιν μὲν ἔπαυσεν), who affirmed the potentially salutary power of his “correct reckoning.” This echo is also carried over into Empedocles’ discussion on equality (ἰσότης); [87] Archytas also refers to equality (τὸ ἶσον, ἰσότας) as the actualized ideal when the citizens practice concord. This theme is also evident in Democritus, who says that equality is best in everything (καλὸν ἐν παντὶ τὸ ἶσον), [88] and Phaleas of Chalcedon who, according to Aristotle, had much to say about equality: [89]

δοκεῖ γάρ τισι τὸ περὶ τὰς οὐσίας εἶναι μέγιστον τετάχθαι καλῶς· περὶ γὰρ τούτων ποιεῖσθαί φασι τὰς στάσεις πάντας. διὸ Φαλέας ὁ Χαλκηδόνιος τοῦτ’ εἰσήνεγκε πρῶτος· φησὶ γὰρ δεῖν ἴσας εἶναι τὰς κτήσεις τῶν πολιτῶν.

In connection to this passage, Aristotle mentions that the equalization of property (ἡ τῆς οὐσίας ὁμαλότης) was an important theme even for some of the older generation of sophoi, and he goes on to mention the legislation of Solon as an example of this. [
91] In fragment 4 (West), Solon says that his polis is being destroyed, not by the gods, but by the greed of its citizens (αὐτοὶ δὲ φθείρειν μεγάλην πόλιν ἀφραδίῃσιν ἀστοὶ βούλονται χρήμασι πειθόμενοι, 5–6). [92] The reason for this, he continues, is that they do not know how to check their insatiable greed (κατέχειν κόρον, 9) or to enjoy the present happiness in the peace of the feast (παρούσας εὐφροσύνας κοσμεῖν δαιτὸς ἐν ἡσυχίῃ, 9–10). This leads to slavery which, in turn, stirs up civil strife and war from its sleep (ἣ [δουλοσύνη] στάσιν ἔμφυλον πόλεμόν θ’ εὕδοντ’ ἐπεγείρει, 19). Such a development has disastrous consequences for the city with killings, people sold into slavery, and other evils. The remedy to all this is good order (Εὐνομίη, 32). [93] It ends greed (παύει κόρον, 34), civil strife (παύει δ’ ἔργα διχοστασίης, 37), and the anger of painful strife (παύει δ’ ἀργαλέης ἔριδος χόλον, 38).

The poetry of Solon resonates remarkably well with our sources on concord. Solon’s emphasis on greed as a socially destructive force (also in 6.3 τίκτει γὰρ κόρος ὕβριν; and 13.71 πλούτου δ’ οὐδὲν τέρμα πεφασμένον ἀνδράσι κεῖται) is echoed in our sources on Lycurgus (πλεονεξία καὶ τρυφή), Archytas (πλεονεξία), and Democritus (πλεονεξία). Aristotle, too, is sympathetic to this line of thinking and discusses the detrimental effect of greed at some length in the Politics. There, however, he underlines that equalization of property can only have a limited effect on preventing citizens from engaging in civil conflicts. The real problem is not social inequality, but greed:

ἡ πονηρία τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἄπληστον, καὶ τὸ πρῶτον μὲν ἱκανὸν διωβελία μόνον, ὅταν δ’ ἤδη τοῦτ’ ᾖ πάτριον, ἀεὶ δέονται τοῦ πλείονος, ἕως εἰς ἄπειρον ἔλθωσιν. ἄπειρος γὰρ ἡ τῆς ἐπιθυμίας φύσις, ἧς πρὸς τὴν ἀναπλήρωσιν οἱ πολλοὶ ζῶσιν. τῶν οὖν τοιούτων ἀρχή, μᾶλλον τοῦ τὰς οὐσίας ὁμαλίζειν, τὸ τοὺς μὲν ἐπιεικεῖς τῇ φύσει τοιούτους παρασκευάζειν ὥστε μὴ βούλεσθαι πλεονεκτεῖν, τοὺς δὲ φαύλους ὥστε μὴ δύνασθαι·

Our sources thus seem to agree about the ubiquitous and detrimental effects of greed and on the importance of checking this impulse.

Civil strife (στάσις) is portrayed as the direct result of unchecked greed. Note the verbal echo between Solon (στάσιν ἔμφυλον) and Democritus (ἐμφύλιος στάσις). Civil strife is consistently described as the antithesis to concord. In Solon, this is expressed through Εὐνομίη and ἡσυχίη. It was the citizens’ incapacity to enjoy happiness in festive peace (ἡσυχίη) that started civil strife, and this sentiment is repeated in 4c (West), where Solon exhorts the rich to moderation (ὑμεῖς δ’ ἡσυχάσαντες ἐνὶ φρεσὶ καρτερὸν ἦτορ, 1). In Solon, ἡσυχίη is characterized as the opposite of στάσις, and to achieve this goal one must practice Εὐνομίη, which ends civil strife (παύει δ’ ἔργα διχοστασίης). [95] By the time of Euripides, this promise to bring a society from the brink of civil war to harmony had become such an axiom that he could write that removal of civil strife was the activity par excellence of the wise man, and that they deserved a good reward for their services:

Solon, then, uses εὐνομίη and ἡσυχίη much in the same sense as we have seen ὁμόνοια being used by others. Democritus and Archytas, in turn, employ ἴσον almost interchangeably with ὁμόνοια. Phaleas of Chalcedon champions the notion of equal property as a means of avoiding civil strife, and such policy is attributed to Lycurgus by Polybius, who writes that the precondition for the Lacedaemonian concord was equality of property. We have also seen similar sentiments regarding equalization of property expressed in Aristotle, Isocrates, Demosthenes, Democritus, Archytas, and Xenophon, and Aristotle saw this as fundamental to Solon’s legislative reform.

The connection that Aristotle makes between Solon and equalization of property alerts us to another feature of concord: it is through the introduction of new laws that both Lycurgus and Solon removed στάσις and promoted concord (ὁμόνοια and εὐνομίη). But legislative expertise seems to be a feature that sets Lycurgus and Solon apart from other promoters of concord, such as the Presocratic philosophers and the sophists. We shall turn to these two groups of sophoi later to explore traces of legal expertise in their source material. Before doing this, however, there is another aspect of the fluidity of traditions we have not explored. We have considerable evidence of musical and choral interventions by poets that led to the suspension of civil discord and promotion of harmony. We shall next consider this tradition.

Poetic Appeals to Concord

Terpander’s successful involvement at Sparta is chronicled in the Suda:

Legal Expertise and Wisdom

From this list we can conclude that some of the sophists were highly regarded in their own as well as other poleis for their legal and diplomatic expertise. It seems safe to assume that they owed much of their authority precisely to their ability to perform successful mediations in inter-poleis disputes. Read together with their promotion of concord, the sophists exhibit analogies in practices with Solon and Lycurgus. Like them, their reputation for wisdom paved the way for their involvement in legal and diplomatic activities aimed at curbing civil strife and promoting concord. But are those analogies merely coincidental, or are they revealing of qualities typically associated with early Greek sophoi in their roles as publicly sanctioned mediators and legal experts? To attempt to address that question, we shall briefly review the legal involvement and expertise of the Presocratics.

There thus existed a tradition in antiquity that at least some of the Presocratics were involved in drawing up laws for their poleis. We have already seen that some of them were involved in acts of political mediation, as promoters of concord. This pattern shows affinities with the traditions about the two lawgivers Lycurgus and Solon, but also with the activities of the sophists. Taken together, these traditions shed new light on the sophists. Instead of being seen as the first promoters of concord they are now located in a traditional discourse that dates back at least to the early lawgivers. It is by drawing on this continuity in practices, one may assume, that the sophists could claim authority and present themselves as ideal conveyors of concord.

Two things are of special interest to us in this typology. First, the interventions of the lawgivers are often introduced in reference to a social crisis, and the word στάσις is used to portray this crisis. [117] This is familiar territory for us from our survey of the material on ὁμόνοια. There is a close affinity between ὁμόνοια and στάσις, and the qualifications of the proponent of concord seem only to be fully appreciated when discussed against the backdrop of civil strife. This framing highlights the relevance of the intervention and simultaneously brings into focus the lawgiver’s unique capacity to turn the present turmoil into unanimity. We appear to be dealing with a topos, where measures to promote the well-being of a community (a new law code, legislative reform, call to concord, etc.) were carefully framed within the context of social strife. If this is right, the frequent appeals to στάσις in our material on the sophists take on a different light. We no longer have to assume that they always respond to historical realities. [118] Instead, the appeals to στάσις can be understood as a reference to a traditional discourse and a sign of the proponent’s indebtedness to this tradition. In other words, we should take seriously the representational value of στάσις—how it is frequently used as foil to introduce and make relevant the succeeding discourse on concord—without necessarily inferring from this that it directly responds to, or is motivated by, an actual civil war.

The second feature of relevance is the description of the education of the lawgivers: travel and instruction from a sophos. This again resonates with what we have seen in connection with the sophists. One of their most recognizable features is their itinerant status, and we will discuss this at greater length in the next chapter. For now, however, it is sufficient to highlight the connection between lawgivers and philosophers, especially the fact that instruction from philosophers was a valued commodity to bring into the arena of legislative reforms. Szegedy-Maszak mentions Thales and Pythagoras as two philosophers who were especially suited to instruct lawgivers, since “both were known to have performed as practicing statesmen.” [119] But these are not the only philosophers involved in legislative activities, as our survey has brought to light. This is where I think the typology of Szegedy-Maszak is too schematic: it downplays the overlaps that existed between philosophers and lawgivers and so overlooks various instances when philosophers are engaged in legal activities. It strives for a precise taxonomy of sophoi but is not sufficiently sensitive to the resistance of the material to such divisions. In fact, it makes little sense to draw up too distinct borders between the various groups of sophoi. It is perhaps more productive to focus on the underlying authority that lends legitimacy to their practices, and to that extent Szegedy-Maszak’s analysis is valuable, since it invites us to pursue such an investigation.

When discussing the Seven Sages, Diogenes Laertius refers to the opinion of Dicaearchus:

ὁ δὲ Δικαίαρχος οὔτε σοφοὺς οὔτε φιλοσόφους φησὶν αὐτοὺς γεγονέναι, συνετοὺς δε τινας καὶ νομοθετικούς.

He continues by saying that some say that they met both at the Pan-Ionian festival and at Corinth and Delphi (ἐν Πανιωνίῳ καὶ ἐν Κορίνθῳ καὶ εν Δελφοῖς συνελθεῖν αὐτούς). According to Aristotle, Pittacus, one of the Seven Sages, [
122] was appointed an arbitrator (αἰσυμνήτης) for ten years, and he was involved in overthrowing Melanchrus, the tyrant of Lesbos. [123] Diogenes Laertius emphasizes his legal expertise and refers to his laws (νόμους δὲ ἔθηκε), [124] as do Aristotle (νόμων δημιουργός) and Diodorus (νομοθέτης τε γὰρ ἀγαθός). [125] As has been widely recognized, his legislation was less sweeping than the constitutional reforms of Lycurgus and Solon, [126] but it was substantial enough to earn him a reputation for wisdom and a place among the early lawgivers. [127] But Diodorus adds an interesting piece of information. In the same sentences where he relates Pittacus’ fame as legislator he writes that he removed from his fatherland three of the greatest afflictions: tyranny, civil strife, and war (τὴν πατρίδα τριῶν τῶν μεγίστων συμφορῶν ἀπέλυσε, τυραννίδος, στάσεως, πολέμου). Diodorus here stresses the connection between Pittacus’ ability as a lawgiver and his capacity to free the state from war and tyranny. In the next paragraph (9.12) he tells how, after Pittacus conquered Phrynon in single combat and procured victory for Mytilene over Athens, the Mytileneans wanted to give Pittacus half of the land they had gained through his victory. [128] But he declined the offer. Diodorus continues:

συνέταξε δὲ ἑκάστῳ κληρῶσαι τὸ ἴσον, ἐπιφθεγξάμενος ὡς τὸ ἴσον ἐστὶ τοῦ πλείονος πλεῖον. μετρῶν γὰρ ἐπιεικείᾳ τὸ πλεῖον οὐ κέρδει σοφῶς ἐγίνωσκεν· τῇ μὲν γὰρ ἰσότητι δόξαν καὶ ἀσφάλειαν ἀκολουθήσειν, τῇ δὲ πλεονεξίᾳ βλασφημίαν καὶ φόβον, δι’ ὧν ταχέως ἂν αὐτοῦ τὴν δωρεὰν ἀφείλαντο.

He ordered that an equal share be assigned to each by lot, having pronounced that the equal share is more than the greater. For by measuring the greater in terms of fairness and not profit he made a wise decision, thinking that fame and certainty would follow upon equality, but that fear and slander would follow upon greed, through which they would quickly have taken away his gift.

This passage resonates well with the material discussed above: Pittacus, through his wisdom—he was one of the Seven—keeps stasis in check. [
129] By not giving in to greed (πλεονεξία), which generates stasis, but by upholding equality (τὸ ἴσον, ἰσότης), he procures a well-governed and prosperous state for the Mytileneans. Compare this to Archytas’ view, quoted above. He argues that his particular branch of sophia (λογισμός) is ideally suited to restore a society torn by civil conflicts to a state of unity and accord. It is significant that in outlining the positive effects of his interventions he appears to make little distinction between τὸ ἶσον/ἰσότας and ὁμόνοια. This semantic coupling—especially when understood against the thematic backdrop of greed and civil strife—strengthens the connection between the accounts of Pittacus and Lycurgus, where τὸ ἴσον and ἰσότης are employed as the ideal state in the former, and ὁμόνοια in the latter. [130] In other words, τὸ ἴσον/ἰσότης and ὁμόνοια fulfill similar functions as the intellectual antidote to greed and civil strife.

In our sources on sophia, the Seven Sages constitute the beginning of the Greek wisdom tradition—the functional predecessors to the Presocratics and later sophoi. It is significant that many of the practices associated with later sophoi—such as legislative involvement, political mediation, and gravitation to the Panhellenic festivals—figure already in our sources on the Sages. If we are right in emphasizing the theme of the wise man as an ideal purveyor of concord and the corollary cancellation of stasis, it seems possible to establish a genealogy of intellectual practices—at least with respect to concord—that commences with the Seven Sages and includes the sophists. This genealogy, in turn, unites different groups of sophoi that are typically thought of as qualitatively different or even mutually incompatible, such as poets, the Seven Sages, lawgivers, Presocratics, and sophists.

These practices seem to have taken place on a Panhellenic stage and gone well beyond individual poleis. The insistence that the sophistic movement was triggered by needs internal to Athens, as some scholars have argued, does not take into account the precedence and Panhellenic scope that the discourse on concord displays. If we pay attention to this genealogyof practices, it seems reasonable to suggest that, while there are significant differences among the different sophoi surveyed—geographical, temporal, and intellectual—there are nevertheless compelling thematic continuities that help account for the cultural authority that later sophoi could claim for themselves. It is against the backdrop of these intellectual continuities that I suggest we understand the sophists.


This chapter, then, is an attempt to bring out the permeability in the categories of sophoi. As a corollary, we need to look for alternate explanations for the impetus of the sophistic movement. It will no longer be sufficient to approach the sophists as qualitatively different from the Presocratics, and to assume that these divisions will be reflected one way or another in their thinking. If we no longer can trace the origin of the sophistic movement exclusively to Athens but to intellectual developments throughout Greece, and if we can attest significant areas of continuity among sophoi, then it seems reasonable that we take these findings into consideration when trying to account for their intellectual practices.

I hope to have shown in this chapter that there existed precedents for the sophists to draw on in the concord discourse. We shall continue this exploration of continuity in the next chapters. At this point, however, we need to consider the particularity of the sophists’ use of ὁμόνοια. More specifically, why did they choose to adopt this word instead of earlier expressions, such as τὸ ἴσον, ἡσυχία, εὐνομία, ὁμοφρονέω, and what was the cultural significance of this choice?

I have argued at length that the claims of Kramer and Romilly—that the sophists were the first to use the word ὁμόνοια and that it directly related to the political turmoil at the end of the fifth century BCE—do not adequately address the tradition of similar activities on the part of the sophists’ predecessors. The invocation of concord was almost always legitimized by the threat of stasis, civil strife. This is not to say that the threat of stasis was not present or real at each occasion when the appeals to concord were made, only that this was a topos that the sophoi could (and often did) tap into in order to validate their own interventions.

The field of wisdom was agonistic, as we shall consider more fully in chapter six. Sophoi participated in competitive behavior to outperform each other and to achieve preeminent positions for themselves. In this agonistic climate, fierce competition induced individual practitioners to push for distinctions among themselves, and the coinage of new words was one aspect of such behavior. This, I argue, is what precipitated the adoption of the word ὁμόνοια. While the traditional typology of the avoidance of stasis and implementation of concord was still maintained—as well as the traditional ways to achieve this, such as warfare against the barbarians, redistribution of wealth, and new legislation—the terminology to describe this typology changed.

Given that our material is so meager, however, it is very difficult to evaluate the precise cultural significance in this shift in diction. But the choice to avoid older words and to coin new ones presumably signifies more than mere verbal distinctions. It entailed agonistic stabs at earlier proponents and attempts at unabashed self-promotion. In some cases, however, such as Archytas, the old and the new diction are used hand in hand, almost interchangeably.

As far as the early uses of concord are concerned—particularly with respect to Heraclitus and the Delphic Oracle—Romilly’s conclusion that ὁμόνοια was a term that was projected back onto earlier times anachronistically seems sound. What is significant with these occurrences, however, is that they reinforce the idea of a thematic link between concord and wisdom, a link so strong that it later led Plutarch to use the word ὁμόνοια to describe the activities of Heraclitus. Ὁμόνοια had thus become synonymous with the long history of intellectual practices performed by sophoi, a tradition in which Heraclitus was seen as a natural participant.


[ back ] 1. Kerferd 1981:149.

[ back ] 2. Romilly 1972:228n5, argues for the year 392: “408 used to be suggested but that hypothesis has been, apparently correctly, abandoned,” but Flower 2000:92 gives good grounds for keeping 408.

[ back ] 11. The first known instance of it being used is probably in 411 BCE in Thrasymachus (DK 85B1); cf. Romilly 1992:226–227; and Huffman 2005:200–201.

[ back ] 12. Kramer 1915:13–14. Cf. Moulakis 1973:20.

[ back ] 13. Kramer 1915:15n7.

[ back ] 14. Plutarch De Garrulitate 511b–c = DK 22A3b.

[ back ] 15. Περὶ ἀρετῆς 40 = DK 22A3b.

[ back ] 16. See Kramer 1915:15n7. Cf. Romilly 1972:202–203.

[ back ] 17. 5.396b7 = DK 22B10.

[ back ] 18. Romilly 1972:202.

[ back ] 19. Meiggs-Lewis 1969, 23:44.

[ back ] 20. Andocides confirms the historicity of this decree in On the Mysteries (107), where he draws a parallel between the amnesty of Patroclides in 403 BCE and an amnesty made in the face of the Persian invasion of Greece. He refers to the result of both these amnesties as ὁμόνοια among the Athenians. The problem with this account, however, is the numerous historical errors committed by Andocides, such as not distinguishing between Marathon and Salamis. For a discussion on this with bibliography, see Meiggs-Lewis 1969:48–52; Romilly 1972:203–205; and Moulakis 1973:19. This inscription had not yet been published when Kramer wrote (it was first published in SEG 18 [1962] 153), and it was thus not considered by him.

[ back ] 21. Diodorus Siculus 7.12.2.

[ back ] 22. Romilly 1972:207. For a full discussion and bibliography of the various criticisms raised against this oracle, see Romilly 1972:205–209.

[ back ] 23. Kramer 1915:13; Moulakis 1973:19.

[ back ] 24. Moulakis 1973:20.

[ back ] 25. Romilly 1972:200–201.

[ back ] 26. Romilly 1972:206.

[ back ] 27. Kramer 1915:13.

[ back ] 28. Romilly 1972:200.

[ back ] 29. Guthrie 1971:150.

[ back ] 30. Huffman 2005:200, exemplifies this position: “The concept of homonoia or concord among citizens is thus born from the need to defend the city against imminent disintegration, because of the strife between democrats and oligarchs.”

[ back ] 31. This is not an attempt to exhaust every occurrence of ὁμόνοια, only to suggest a rough outline to determine in what sorts of contexts the word was discussed. I have found the work of Kramer extremely helpful for this purpose, and I have repeatedly drawn on his conclusions. His is the fullest treatment of ὁμόνοια and its meaning in Greek literature to date. See also Ferguson 1958:118–132; Romilly 1972; Moulakis 1973; Romer 1982; and Huffman 2005:182–224.

[ back ] 32. Kramer 1915:8–14.

[ back ] 33. Kramer 1915:12.

[ back ] 34. Moulakis 1973:19.

[ back ] 35. Constitution of Athens 40.3. Cf. Xenophon Hellenica 2.4.38.

[ back ] 36. Constitution of Athens 40.2–3.

[ back ] 37. Isocrates Areopagiticus 69; Demosthenes Against Leptines 12.

[ back ] 38. Lysias Funeral Oration 63; Subverting the Democracy 20; Isocrates Against Callimachus 44–46; Andocides On the Mysteries 106 and 140.

[ back ] 39. Kramer 1915:23; Moulakis 1973:20.

[ back ] 40. Constitution of Athens 40.3.

[ back ] 41. Cf. Kramer 1915:38–45.

[ back ] 42. Dionysius of Halicarnassus Lysias 30.

[ back ] 43. Dionysius himself does not give us a date for the speech, but Diodorus Siculus 14.107.1 and 14.109.1 mentions that Lysias held his address at the ninety-eighth Olympiad (388 BCE).

[ back ] 44. Dionysius of Halicarnassus Lysias 30 = speech no. 33, Lysias OCT (Carey).

[ back ] 45. Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, performed in 411, presents us with additional evidence of the bonds of common identity fostered at the Panhellenic sites. In lines 1128–1134, a character reproaches the Spartan and Athenian delegates by declaring: [ back ] You who at Olympia, at Thermopylae, and at Delphi—how many other places could I mention if I were to speak at great length?—purify the altars, like kinsmen, with a single sprinkling of lustral water, are destroying Greek men and Greek cities, though enemies are at hand with a barbarian army.

[ back ] 46. To place further stress on the constitutive experience of the games, one could mention how important a task it was for the Olympic officials to prevent barbaroi from competing at the games; cf. Herodotus 5.22.2. See also Hall 1997:64.

[ back ] 47. Isocrates Panegyricus 173.

[ back ] 48. Isocrates To Philip 119.

[ back ] 49. Isocrates To Philip 81.

[ back ] 50. Isocrates Epistle 9.

[ back ] 51. Isocrates To Philip.

[ back ] 52. On the Navy-Boards 14. See also Against Philip 38.

[ back ] 53. Flower 2000. The aspect of Panhellenism he is interested in pursuing is “the idea that the various Greek city-states could solve their political disputes and simultaneously enrich themselves by uniting in common cause and conquering all or part of the Persian empire,” 65–66.

[ back ] 54. Flower 2000:66, esp. n6–8.

[ back ] 55. Flower also refers to the new Simonides papyrus on the Battle of Plataea. This poem was probably performed in the 470’s, and it seems to raise the idea of a Greek invasion of Persia. It has further been suggested that this poem was a Spartan commission, which would support the view that the impetus for Panhellenism is not to be attributed exclusively to the ideological framework of the Delian League and the Athenian empire. For the Simonides papyrus, see West 1989–1992:118–122 and 1993; and Flower 2000:66–69, which includes bibliography on this topic.

[ back ] 56. Flower 2000:69–73. For the idea that no Greek would have thought that an attack on Susa would have been feasible, see 70–71, esp. n28–29, and 76.

[ back ] 57. Flower 2000, esp. 77–84.

[ back ] 58. Flower 2000:77.

[ back ] 59. Cf. Kramer 1915:31–37.

[ back ] 60. Archidamus 67: οἱ μὲν κεκτημένοι τὰς οὐσίας ἥδιον ἂν εἰς τὴν θάλατταν τὰ σφέτερ’ αὐτῶν ἐκβάλοιεν ἢ τοῖς δεομένοις ἐπαρκέσειαν, οἱ δὲ καταδεέστερον πράττοντες οὐδ’ ἂν εὑρεῖν δέξαιντο μᾶλλον ἢ τὰ τῶν ἐχόντων ἀφελέσθαι.

[ back ] 61. Panathenaicus 178–179.

[ back ] 62. Panathenaicus 226.

[ back ] 63. Panathenaicus 259.

[ back ] 64. Memorabilia 3.5.16–17: ἐξ ὧν πολλὴ μὲν ἀτηρία καὶ κακία τῇ πόλει ἐμφύεται, πολλὴ δὲ ἔχθρα καὶ μῖσος ἀλλήλων τοῖς πολίταις ἐγγίγνεται.

[ back ] 65. Polybius 6.46.6–8.

[ back ] 66. Ephorus was not alone in that practice. Polybius (6.45.1) expresses outrage that some of the most learned Greek authors—Ephorus, Xenophon, Callisthenes, and Plato—claim that the Cretan and Spartan constitutions are identical. Cf. Herodotus 1.65, who writes that Lycurgus brought the Spartan constitution from Crete; and Aristotle Politics 1271b20 and 1271b22–4, who writes that the Cretan and Spartan constitutions are similar, and that the Spartan constitution is modeled on the Cretan. For a discussion of the similarities between the Cretan and Spartan forms of government, see Perlman 2005, esp. 300–308.

[ back ] 67. Strabo 10.4.16: τὴν μὲν οὖν ὁμόνοιαν διχοστασίας αἰρομένης ἀπαντᾶν, ἣ γίνεται διὰ πλεονεξίαν καὶ τρυφήν.

[ back ] 68. Polybius 6.48.2

[ back ] 69. Aristotle (Politics 1274a28–30) also mentions their affiliation, but he does not specify Thaletas’ status as either a lawgiver or poet.

[ back ] 70. Plutarch Lycurgus 4.1–2. For concord as a theme in poetic and choral expressions, see discussion below.

[ back ] 71. On Lycurgus, see Tigerstedt 1965–1978; Szegedy-Maszak 1978; Manfredini and Piccirilli 1980; and Hölkeskamp 1992.

[ back ] 72. Politics 1274a25–30. It is important to note, however, that Aristotle himself did not subscribe to these opinions; he thought that the story was inconsistent with chronology (ἀσκεπτότερον τῶν χρόνων), 1274a30–31.

[ back ] 73. Willets 1982:236. See also Campbell 1988:320–329.

[ back ] 74. DK 68B255.

[ back ] 75. DK 68B250.

[ back ] 76. DK 47B3, 7–12. For a thorough discussion of Archytas and fragment 3, see Huffman 2005, esp. 183–224.

[ back ] 77. What does λογισμός mean? It is frequently used to mean “the exercise of reason in rational inference and thought,” Irwin 1985:422. Huffman (2005:203) adds that it “is used in a wide range of Greek authors to refer to the rational part of a human being as opposed to the passions … It is what distinguishes human beings from animals, which live just by impressions (Aristotle Metaphysics 980b28), and adults from children, who from the beginning have spirit (θυμός) but may never partake of logismos.” As to the precise meaning of λογισμός in fragment 3, Huffman (205–206) writes: “We have every reason to suppose, then, that Archytas saw logismos as including both of the proportions commonly applied to politics in the later tradition, the arithmetic and the geometric, and it is also conceivable that he thought other sorts of proportions were applicable as well.”

[ back ] 78. Memorabilia 4.4.16.

[ back ] 79. I am not contending that Xenophon described a historical encounter between Socrates and Hippias in which they discussed concord; only that to Xenophon’s mind—and to his readers’, too, one may surmise—it seemed like a germane topic for Socrates to discuss with Hippias. For a general statement about my treatment of the sources, see the Appendix.

[ back ] 80. Aristotle (Constitution of Athens 40.3), Isocrates (Archidamus 67 and 69), Demosthenes (Against Leptines 12), Democritus (DK 68B255), and Archytas (DK 47B3, 7–12).

[ back ] 81. Schmid-Stählin 1940:163.

[ back ] 82. Herodotus 1.170.

[ back ] 83. Diogenes Laertius 1.25 = DK 11A1.

[ back ] 84. Diogenes Laertius 8.72 = DK 31A1; cf. Diodorus Siculus 11.53. See also Wright 1981:6–14.

[ back ] 85. Diogenes Laertius 8.65 = DK 31A1.

[ back ] 86. Diogenes Laertius 8.66 and 70 = DK 31A1. There is also a tradition that he aided another city by counteracting winds with leather hides (Diogenes Laertius 8.60). For a discussion of how elements of magic and ritual in the sources on Empedocles fit (or not) with his philosophy, see Kingsley 1995.

[ back ] 87. We should note that Empedocles assigns an important role to equality in his work on physics (DK 31B17, 20 and 27), where both Love (Φιλότης) and the four roots are modified by the adjective ἴσος.

[ back ] 88. DK 68B102.

[ back ] 89. For the importance of the concept of equality in early Greek thought, see Vlastos 1947. See also Vlastos 1981:184–185n78; and Huffman 2005:211–215.

[ back ] 90. Aristotle Politics 1266a36–40. See Balot 2001a for Aristotle’s discussion of Phaleas of Chalcedon.

[ back ] 91. Aristotle Politics 1266b14–23.

[ back ] 92. For Solon 4, see Irwin 2005, esp. 91–111.

[ back ] 93. For Εὐνομίη, see, most recently, Irwin 2005:183–193, with bibliography.

[ back ] 94. Politics 1267b1–9. For the significance of greed as a theme in antiquity, see Balot 2001b and Huffman 2005:206–211.

[ back ] 95. This connection is also established by Aristotle, who mentions that Solon was chosen as a mediator (διαλλακτής), since civil strife was severe (ἰσχυρᾶς δὲ τῆς στάσεως οὔσης), and that he exhorted the rich not to be greedy (παραινῶν τοῖς πλουσίοις μὴ πλεονεκτεῖν), Constitution of Athens 5.2–3.

[ back ] 96. Euripides fr. 282, 23–28 (Autolykos) TGF. For a discussion on this fragment, see Marcovich 1978:20, and Kyle 1987:128.

[ back ] 103. In this context, we might recall that poets were traditionally referred to as sophoi. For discussion and examples, see Kerferd 1981:24; Lloyd 1987:83; and Griffith 1990.

[ back ] 104. Cf. Plutarch Agis 10.3, who writes that Terpander, Thaletas, and Pherecydes, despite being foreigners, were held in honor at Sparta since they pursued the same ideas as Lycurgus in their songs and philosophies. We might speculate about the relationship between νόμος as law and νόμος as musical strain or “pattern of melody” (Anderson 1966:54). Terpander is repeatedly described as an innovator in music (e.g. Terpander test. 12–17 Campbell) and as introducing new νόμοι (e.g. Terpander test. 3 and 18–20 Campbell). Thaletas is also attributed with having brought about musical reforms in Sparta and introduced musical novelties (Pseudo-Plutarch De musica 9.1134b–c = Thaletas test. 7 Campbell; Thaletas test. 9–10 Campbell). Plutarch Lycurgus 4 states that Thaletas prepared the groundwork for Lycurgus’ legislative reforms by exposing the Spartans to his music and thus softening their ways and making them more prone to practicing concord. Terpander, too, accomplished social changes through his music similar to the legislative reforms of Solon, Lycurgus, and Pittacus. Clement of Alexandria (Stromateis = Terpander test. 8 Campbell) writes that Terpander set the Spartans’ laws to music (τοὺς Λακεδαιμονίων νόμους ἐμελοποίησε Τέρπανδρος). There seems to be a slippage between the musical and legislative use of νόμος in the material on the early sages and poets. Perhaps this is indicative of their overlaps in sophia.

[ back ] 105. Nightingale 1995, esp. 13–59.

[ back ] 106. Diodorus Siculus 7.53 = DK 82A4.

[ back ] 107. Heraclides Ponticus apud Diogenes Laertius 9.50 = DK 80A1.

[ back ] 108. Philostratus Lives of the Sophists 1.11 = DK 86A2.

[ back ] 111. Diogenes Laertius 8.3, not in DK.

[ back ] 112. Diogenes Laertius 9.23 = DK 28A1; see also Strabo 6.1.1 and Plutarch Against Coletes 1126a = DK 28A12.

[ back ] 113. Diogenes Laertius 9.2 = DK 22A1.

[ back ] 114. This criticism applies especially to the work of Adcock 1927.

[ back ] 115. Szegedy-Maszak 1978.

[ back ] 116. Szegedy-Maszak 1978:202.

[ back ] 117. See Gagarin 1986:58–60.

[ back ] 118. Romilly (1972:200) expresses well this point of view. Regarding the discourse on concord she writes: “Et il s’explique par la nécessité où l’on se trouvait de defendre la cité contre une désagrégation alors imminente.”

[ back ] 119. Szegedy-Maszak 1978:203.

[ back ] 120. For the Seven Sages, see Snell 1971, Fehling 1985, Martin 1993, and Busine 2002.

[ back ] 121. Diogenes Laertius 1.40.

[ back ] 122. Protagoras 343a–b.

[ back ] 123. Politics 1285a30. Whatever the precise meaning of the term αἰσυμνήτης is, it is clear that Mytilene was deeply immersed in civic turmoil and that Pittacus’ appointment as αἰσυμνήτης was intended to restore civic accord and mediate between the warring factions. But see Romer’s (1982:40) hesitation about the “nature of Pittacus’ actual ‘mediation.’” For the meaning of αἰσυμνήτης and for a discussion of Mytilene’s political situation, see Page 1955:149–161 and 239–240; Andrewes 1974:96–99; Romer 1982; and Gagarin 1986:59–60.

[ back ] 124. Diogenes Laertius 1.76.

[ back ] 125. Politics 1274b18. Diodorus Siculus 9.11.1.

[ back ] 126. See, for example, Andrewes 1974:98.

[ back ] 127. See Bowra 1961:136; Andrewes 1974:97–98; Gagarin 1986:59; and Hölkeskamp 1992.

[ back ] 128. For a discussion of the different and conflicting versions of this story, see Page 1955:152–161; cf. Andrewes 1974:92–99. For the ancient sources on the Sigean War, see Herodotus 5.95; Strabo 13.1.38; Diodorus Siculus 9.12; Diogenes Laertius 1.74.

[ back ] 129. Pittacus is frequently mentioned as one of the early practitioners of wisdom. See, for example, Simonides 542 PMG; Herodotus 1.27; Plato Republic 335e and Hippias Major 281c; Aristotle Politics 1274b and 1285a–b; Diodorus Siculus 9.11–12, 26–28; Strabo 13.2.3; Plutarch Dinner of the Seven Wise Men; Dionysius of Halicarnassus Antiquitates Romanae 2.26; Diogenes Laertius 1.74–81.

[ back ] 130. This connection with the earlier material, especially the lawgivers, becomes even stronger when considering a story from Aristoxenos’ Life of Archytas that relates the encounter between Archytas and Polyarchus. In this meeting Polyarchus argues that the extinction of πλεονεξία is the goal of lawgiving and justice. Aristoxenus’ Life is preserved in Athenaeus 12.545a = DK 47A9. See Huffman 2005:307–337.

[ back ] 131. In the story of the tripod as told by Diogenes Laertius 1.28, the Seven Sages are invoked as arbitrators between Milesian fishermen and Ionian youths over the rightful possession of the tripod. For a discussion of the tripod narrative, see Gernet 1981:78–81; and Humphreys 1983a:249–250; and Martin 1993:120.

[ back ] 132. Diogenes Laertius 1.84.

[ back ] 133. Plutarch Quaestiones Graecae 20; cf. Humphreys 1983a:250 and Martin 1993:110.

[ back ] 134. Quoted from Snell 1971:26.

[ back ] 135. Bias: Plutarch Quaestiones Graecae 20, Diogenes Laertius 1.87, Letter of Lysimachus to Samos (RC 7 = Snell 1971:24–26); Periander: Herodotus 5.95, Aristotle Rhetoric 1375b, Diogenes Laertius 1.74. For early sages as judges, see Humphreys 1983a:249–251.

[ back ] 136. Rhetoric 1375b.

[ back ] 137. See my discussion in chapter one, 27–31.

[ back ] 138. For a discussion of the concepts of the contemplative and political life in Presocratic philosophy, see Zeppi 1972.