Plato’s Counterfeit Sophists

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

4. Itinerant Sophoi

Sophistic Travel

Plato is probably the best source to convey just how essential travel was for the sophists. In the Apology, Socrates says about Gorgias, Prodicus, and Hippias that:

In the case of Gorgias of Leontini, Philostratus provides us with a vivid account of his public appearances throughout Greece:

It is also reported that he was sent as an ambassador by his own city to Athens in 427 BCE to ask for their assistance, since the people of Leontini were involved in a war with the Syracusans. [
9] This was supposedly his first trip to Athens, and he is said to have been already sixty years old. [10] He gave a public performance in the theater of the Athenians apart from the funeral oration mentioned above, and there is also a story about him performing together with Hippias in purple clothes. [11] He taught in Argos, where he was so hated that his students had to pay fines, and he was active as a teacher in Boeotia and in Thessaly. [12] Isocrates, finally, mentions that he failed to inhabit any one city steadily. [13]

Philostratus also mentions Hippias’ travels to Sparta, to a small city in Sicily called Inycus, and to Olympia. In the Hippias Major, Socrates greets Hippias by saying, “Hippias, the handsome and wise, how long it has been since you put in to us in Athens.” In response to which Hippias answers:

In the Hippias Minor, Hippias says that:

Plato mentions that Hippias visited Olympia wearing clothes all of which he had made for himself: ring, skin-scraper, oil-flask, sandals, cloak, tunic, and girdle, and that, besides this, he had with him poems, epics, tragedies, dithyrambs, and many prose writings. [
20] He is also said to have published a List of Olympic Victors. [21] When asked by Socrates what he was teaching in Sparta, he answers that they very much enjoy hearing:

Finally, Xenophon mentions a discussion between Socrates and Hippias, who he says had arrived in Athens after a long absence. [

Hippias, then, traveled widely in Greece. The information we have from Plato and Xenophon implies that he only made sporadic visits to Athens. We are also informed about what kind of activities he was engaged in at Sparta and at the Olympic Games.

From this survey it is clear that for many of the sophists Athens was not their permanent residence, nor did they spend most of their time there. Further, their activities do not seem to be exclusively targeted towards Athens (or any other democratic city, for that matter). Hippias had developed a particular repertoire for Sparta, and it seems reasonable to assume that other sophists had a similar curricular variety. But if the sophists spent much of their time in other cities than Athens, how are we to account for their ability to travel from city to city and be hospitably received? There existed a great, though intermittent, hostility between many of the city-states, and it cannot have been easy or straightforward to walk into any city in the manner described in our sources. To give just one example of the precariousness of traveling to, not to mention crossing over, the territory of neighboring states, Thucydides mentions the situation of Brasidas and his Spartan troops in 424 when marching through Thessaly to Thrace in support of Perdiccas. He explains why the Spartans took precautions to secure escort for their journey:

In order to appreciate better how the sophists could travel the Greek world and why they were held in such high regard as teachers, we shall survey our primary material for historical predecessors. We shall be on the lookout for itinerant sophoi who exhibited similar educational expertise as the sophists.

Presocratic Travel

Many of the Presocratic philosophers conducted travels far and wide, but few paid visits to Athens. We can document their itineraries in some detail.

Plato writes in Parmenides (127a-c) that Zeno and Parmenides once came to Athens for the Great Panathenaea and that they stayed in Pythodorus’ house.

When looking at the travels reported in these sources, one can draw a distinction between sophoi who seem to have traveled more extensively and whose fame partially rested on their travels, such as Thales, Xenophanes, Pythagoras, and Democritus, and those who are said to have made a few but significant travels, such as Anaximander, Anaxagoras, and Empedocles. Despite the different degrees of intensity of their travels, I still think that we can legitimately compare them in so far as they all had similar expertise and undertook their travels as practitioners of this expertise. We will explore the Panhellenic centers as destinations for such travels in the next chapter, but for now we can draw some preliminary conclusions from the material we have reviewed.

There existed a long-standing tradition of contacts between the cities in the Greek-speaking world, and these contacts extended as far as Egypt and Persia. Given these established channels, it seems reasonable to assume that the sophists did not have to create new networks when traveling, but employed already existing ones. But these insights only take us so far. We have only pushed the question of authority from the sophists to an earlier generation of sophoi. To pursue this question further, we shall consult Herodotus’ account of the encounter between Solon and Croesus in Book 1.29–30. There Herodotus gives an extensive description of how Solon came to Sardis and Croesus:

When all these nations had been added to the Lydian empire, and Sardis was at the height of her wealth and prosperity, all the Greek wise men (σοφισταί) of that epoch, one after another, paid visits to the capital. Much the most distinguished of them was Solon the Athenian, the man who at the request of his country had made a code of laws for Athens. He was on his travels at the time, intending to be away for ten years, in order to avoid the necessity of repealing any of the laws he had made. That, at any rate, was the real reason of his absence, though he gave it out that what he wanted was just to see the world. The Athenians could not alter any of Solon’s laws without him, because they had solemnly sworn to give them a ten years’ trial. For this reason, then—and also no doubt for the pleasure of foreign travel—Solon left home and, after a visit to the court of Amasis in Egypt, went to Sardis to see Croesus. Croesus received him as a guest-friend (ἐξεινίζετο) in the palace, and three or four days after his arrival instructed some servants to take him to a tour of the royal treasuries and point out the richness and magnificence of everything. When Solon had made as thorough an inspection as opportunity allowed, Croesus said: “Well, my Athenian guest-friend (Ξεῖνε Ἀθηναῖε), I have heard a great deal about your wisdom, and how widely you have traveled in the pursuit of knowledge. I cannot resist my desire to ask you a question: who is the happiest man you have ever seen?”

This encounter has been questioned on chronological grounds. [
40] What interests me, however, is less the historicity of the meeting than Herodotus’ conceptualization of the encounter. Solon travels from Athens to Sardis and is received by Croesus because of his reputation for wisdom—he is one of the Seven Sages—to validate Croesus’ claims to happiness (εὐδαιμονία). Croesus’ reception of Solon invokes the framework of guest-friendship (ξενία): it is as his guest-friend that Croesus receives and entertains Solon at his court in Sardis and it is in this capacity that he asks him to assess his fortunes. In the Herodotean narrative, then, Solon’s travel to and reception by Croesus are predicated on and mediated through the cultural networks provided by ξενία. Is the prominence of ξενία limited to this encounter in Herodotus, or can we find this association between ξενία and σοφία even in the material on the Presocratics and sophists? We shall attempt to address these questions next.

Ξενία and Σοφία

Within the xenia network, the elite traveled to, entertained, and sustained one another with remarkable efficiency—so much so that one can legitimately talk about an exchange system of goods and services circulating among guest-friends. [52] Herman classifies these exchanges under the headings of material goods and non-material services, and he divides the latter group into three subcategories: “ritual services, private services and services carried out within the context of political institutions.” [53] As an example of the non-material services, he refers to Herodotus (3.125), where the affiliates of Polycrates, the tyrant of Samos, are described. We hear of a number of people connected to the tyrant. Of most interest for our purposes are Democedes of Crotona, the best physician of his day, and an unspecified number of soothsayers. To explain the relationship between Polycrates and his associates, Herman suggests a model of social organization that contained elite coalitions headed by a leader who was in turn surrounded by a variety of local supporters as well as guest-friends in other communities. [54] Loosely attached to these leaders and their entourage were a number of specialists, such as physicians, soothsayers, artists, and poets. Among these affiliates, I suggest, we should also include wise men, sophoi, who served in a variety of roles, such as political and legal advisors as well as educators. [55] They would be invited by the local leader, travel, and be entertained within the framework of xenia. It would also be within this context that they could interact with other practitioners of wisdom and participate in more or less structured exchanges of wisdom.

Scholars have long commented on the propensity of wise men for travel, but not much work has been done to explain how such travel was socially feasible beyond an assessment of a general desire on the part of philosophers to tour and explore the world. [58] Humphreys has addressed the question of Greek intellectuals and observed that poets, as part of that group, “may travel from one part of the Greek world to another and find a welcome everywhere because of their skills.” When describing the poet’s social role, she writes that he is “a hanger-on of the noble oikos.” [59] This observation, although vague as to the precise nature of the relationship between poets and nobles and the practicalities of travel, emphasizes the role of the noble oikoi as destinations for poetic travel and as parts in an international network that tied together geographically disparate patrons. Humphreys also stresses how crucial travel was to the emerging field of “Greek intellectuals” in the fifth century:

Rosalind Thomas has also considered the role of traveling sophoi. She outlines the intellectual milieu in which Herodotus participated and against which she believes his work should be understood; and she paints a picture of extensive intellectual travel in the fifth century:

It seems safe to conclude that travel was extremely important for practitioners of wisdom in the fifth century. But what do we know about the situation in the archaic period? Montiglio has conducted a broader exploration of the link between travel and philosophy, and she emphasizes the importance of travel for wise men from Odysseus onward. Montiglio highlights what an undesirable and anomalous activity travel was in the Greek world: it is often connected with suffering, supplication, and exile in epic and tragedy, and when associated with trade it is often represented as a great evil. [
62] Within such cultural attitudes, Montiglio distinguishes between two types of travel, one positive and one negative. The positive one is linked with knowledge, embraced by the example of Odysseus, who “learns from his toilsome wanderings.” [63] Later Solon came to personify this link between travel and learning, so much so that he “inaugurates a tradition which eventually spreads so widely that Diogenes Laertius regards the philosopher who loathes travelling as an exception.” This “love of knowledge” that Solon’s travels represent, in the words of Montiglio, “is the motive that drove several other Presocratics to travel extensively.” She continues:

The other form of travel is motivated by the need to work and earn money, and here we find the sophists. [
65] This type of travel is modeled on the merchant, where need or greed motivates travel, and, in the case of the sophists, teaching and money-making—not desire to see the world and learn, as with the Presocratics—are given as the determining factors for them going from city to city. But in establishing these models and in seeking to reconstruct the cultural attitudes associated with them, Montiglio relies heavily on the judgment of Plato. She thus concludes—just as Plato did—that the sophists had no philosophical ambitions, that they only traveled to make money, and that they were generally despised in the Greek world. [66]

Despite her heavy Platonic bias in assessing the sophists, there are two important points in Montiglio’s argument that I would like to build on. First, she establishes the ancient connection between travel and wisdom, dating back at least to the archaic period—though I would be reluctant to support her distinction between the two contrasting models of travel. Second, she stresses the negative connotations that existed in relation to travel, and how anyone undertaking travel exposed himself to potential danger. These observations underscore the importance of understanding the social mechanism that made travel possible.

Another, and entirely different, approach to travel comes from the field of archeology. Colin Renfrew and John Cherry outline in Peer Polity Interaction a theory of understanding the development of complex societies. This they do in an attempt to avoid the constraints entailed by the two predominant models in archaeology that emphasize either “diffusion of cultures” or “autonomy and local innovation.” Instead of this “either-or thinking” they believe that the key to understanding the developments of certain societies lies elsewhere, namely in the communications, processes, and interactions that take place between neighboring, autonomous communities. Though these communities are independent and self-regulating they share “structural homologies” with their neighboring communities, that is:

The origin of these structural homologies can be found neither by looking exclusively at outside influences nor at endogenous developments, but by analyzing “the interaction between the polities—the peer polity interactions.” The corollary of this statement is that no single place can be pinpointed as the origin of a particular cultural form. Rather, “the different communities developed simultaneously and their structural homologies developed with them.”

But what were the types of interaction that took place in the Greek context and what sorts of communication can we identify? In the words of Renfrew and Cherry:

On the regional level, the Panhellenic sites played an important part in furthering contacts between polities, and we will explore this in the next chapter. But the most pervasive and multidimensional network to promote communication and interaction is the xenia network outlined above. [
71] Through this network, we see precisely the preoccupation with competition, emulation, and exchanges that pertain to a cultural framework shared by a larger group of autonomous poleis. But who where the dominant players participating in these exchanges? When addressing this issue, Renfrew and Cherry downplay the importance of traders, saying instead that the “travels of the decision-makers may have been more important, some undertaken, no doubt, in the course of arranging marriage alliances, or simply in gift-exchange.” [72] The locus of interest is thus on interactions between the decision-makers in the various social units. But this raises the question of how, where, and under what circumstances they met. It becomes especially important if we are to attribute to this type of interaction the shaping and influencing of the social structures of the participating communities. Renfrew and Cherry do not explore these aspects of their theory. Instead they point out that this kind of research is in need of further pursuit, the lack of which they deplore:

Let us pause for a moment to recapitulate the main points of the argument thus far. We have assessed the importance of travel for the sophists and linked it to the general theme of travel by other sophoi. Rather than assuming the Platonic bias and distinguishing between the Presocratics who traveled for knowledge and the sophists who traveled for pay, it seems reasonable to assume that the same motivations that induced early sophoi to travel were still at play in the time of the sophists. We have further suggested that it was within the framework of xenia that much of the philosophical travel occurred. By drawing on the peer polity interaction model, we have called attention to the importance of the inter-polis interaction engaged in by decision-makers and the flow of information resulting from their interactions. Here xenia becomes crucial in understanding how interactions between the elites in the various communities took place. In the remainder of this chapter, I will try to map out how all of this played out in the time of the sophists. We shall explore what role the xenia system had in their travels, and we will also try to push the question of historical predecessors in the direction of the Seven Sages.

Ξενία in the Time of the Sophists

The Presocratics, too, seem to belong to this exclusive circle, at least if we take seriously the frequent attestations of their families’ prominent stature. For example, Thales is said to have been from a distinguished family (γένος λάμπρον, Diogenes Laertius 1.22), and Anaxagoras is reported to have been “eminent for wealth and noble birth” (οὗτος εὐγενείᾳ καὶ πλούτῳ διαφέρων ἦν, Diogenes Laertius 2.6). Heraclitus was of royal descent but gave up his claim to kingship in favor of his brother (ἐκχωρῆσαι γὰρ τἀδελφῷ τῆς βασιλείας, Diogenes Laertius 9.6). Empedocles, likewise, is said to be of an illustrious family (λαμπρᾶς ἦν οἰκίας, Diogenes Laertius 8.51) and to have once rejected an offer of kingship (τὴν βασιλείαν αὐτῷ διδομένην παρῃτήσατο, Diogenes Laertius 8.63), and we also possess evidence that Parmenides was of noble birth and wealth (γένους τε ὑπάρχων λαμπροῦ καὶ πλούτου, Diogenes Laertius 9.21). When he visited Athens with Zeno, they stayed at the house of Pythodorus, a known Athenian aristocrat (Plato Parmenides 127c).

Ξενία and the Seven Sages

But this thematic link between sophia and xenia does not begin with nor is exclusively restricted to the sources on the sophists. We have seen how Solon was greeted and received as a guest-friend by Croesus in Herodotus. Indeed, he was invited by the Lydian king in his capacity as a practitioner of wisdom, and Croesus comments on his reputation for wisdom and travel (πλάνη). We have also heard of Thales’ reputed travel to Egypt, where he allegedly learned geometry, [85] and of his participation in the banquet of the Seven Sages at Corinth. Another member in the stories surrounding the Seven Sages was Anacharsis, and we have interesting attestations of his travels. [86] Herodotus (4.76) relates how he traveled extensively and made displays of his wisdom during his travels (Ἀνάχαρσις, ἐπείτε γῆν πολλὴν θεωρήσας καὶ ἀποδεξάμενος κατ’ αὐτὴν σοφίην πολλὴν). Diogenes Laertius also attests to his many travels in 1.103 (πολλὰ πλανηθείς). Jan Fredrik Kindstrand has collected the sources for his travels in the Greek world and beyond, and he is said to have visited Sparta, Delphi, Myson in Chen, Periander, and Croesus. [87] Diogenes Laertius writes that he also went to Athens to visit Solon to become, if possible, his guest-friend (βούλοιτο αὐτὸν θεάσασθαι, ξένος τε, εἰ οἷόν τε, γενέσθαι). [88] Solon’s initial response was to dismiss him but, struck by his readiness of wit (καταπλαγεὶς τὴν ἑτοιμότητα), he changed his mind and befriended him. Here again we see the thematic link between travel, wisdom, and xenia. We have already explored this link with respect to the sophists and Presocratics, and now I would like to push the analysis even further back to the Seven Sages.

We have scant ancient sources on the Seven Sages, and the material is often problematic. But there still seem to be important themes that fit well with what we have outlined above. Thales, Solon, and Anacharsis all figured in accounts that designate them as members of the collegium of the Seven Sages. [89] They were famous for their wisdom and travels. Further, xenia seems to have constituted an important institutional framework for their travels: Solon was hospitably received by Croesus, and Anacharsis established a guest-friend relationship to Solon. [90] Diodorus Siculus (9.2) develops this thematic link in a passage where he writes that Croesus used to summon the wisest Greeks and, after spending time with them and benefiting from their wisdom, would send them away with many gifts (Κροῖσος ὁ Λυδῶν βασιλεὺς … μετεπέμπετο τῶν Ἑλλήνων τοὺς σοφωτάτους, καὶ συνδιατρίβων αὐτοῖς μετὰ πολλῶν δώρων ἐξέπεμψε καὶ αὐτὸς πρὸς ἀρετὴν ὠφελεῖτο πολλά). Later in the same book (9.26), Diodorus repeats the same passage but goes on to name the wise men invited: Solon, Anacharsis, Bias, and Pittacus. Apart from the names of the sages, what these passages add to Herodotus’ account is the mention of gifts. Herodotus invokes the language of gift-exchange only to problematize the commodification of wisdom suggested by Croesus. In the Herodotean version, Croesus sends Solon away giftless, deeming him unworthy of any compensation. Diodorus, on the other hand, describes an unproblematic exchange that leads to lavish compensation. Together, these two passages paint a picture of traveling sages hospitably received and generously rewarded for their services. Already in our sources on the Seven Sages, then, we see a quasi-institutionalized role of a wise man, sophos. He is a highly sought-after traveling practitioner of wisdom who journeys the Greek world and beyond through connections established through xenia. We also encounter these practitioners at banquets and symposia for the Seven Sages, and at the Panhellenic centers, with an emphasis on Delphi. This is a connection that we shall explore further in the next chapter.


[ back ] 1. Remarkably little has been written about travel, especially as it pertains to the travels of sophoi. The standard introduction in English to travel in antiquity is Casson 1994. See Dougherty 2001 for an exploration of the metaphorical use of travel, especially in relation to (poetic) wisdom, in the Odyssey. See also Hartog 2001 and, for an anthropological and cross-cultural account of travel, Helms 1988.

[ back ] 8. Philostratus Lives of the Sophists 1.9 = DK 82A1. See the discussion of this passage in chapter three, 61–78.

[ back ] 9. Diodorus Siculus 12.53 = DK 82A4.

[ back ] 10. Guthrie 1971:270.

[ back ] 11. Philostratus Lives of the Sophists 1.1 = DK 82A1a; Aelian Varia Historia 12.32 = DK 82A9. This story is further discussed in chapter five, 118.

[ back ] 12. Argos: DK vol. 2, p425:26 = Olympiodorus on Plato’s Gorgias 46:11; Thessaly: Meno 70a–71b, Isocrates Antidosis 155 = DK 82A18; Argos and Boeotia: Untersteiner 1954:93 with notes, and Schmid-Stählin 1940:59n10, cf. Guthrie 1971:270n2.

[ back ] 13. Isocrates Antidosis 156 = DK 82A18.

[ back ] 14. Suda = DK 84A1; Hippias Major 282c = DK 84A3.

[ back ] 15. Philostratus Lives of the Sophists 1.12 = DK 84A1a.

[ back ] 16. Hippias Major 282c = DK 84A3

[ back ] 17. Philostratus Lives of the Sophists 1.11 = DK 86A2. See also discussion in chapter three, 84–90.

[ back ] 18. Hippias Major 281a = DK 86A6.

[ back ] 19. Hippias Minor 363c = DK 86A8.

[ back ] 20. Hippias Major 368b–d = DK 86A12. See discussion in chapter 5, 113–115.

[ back ] 21. Plutarch Numa 1 = DK 86B3.

[ back ] 22. Hippias Major 285d–e = DK 86A11.

[ back ] 23. Memorabilia 4.4.5 = DK 86A14.

[ back ] 24. Thucydides 4.78.2. Cf. Herman 1987:119.

[ back ] 25. DK 11A11.

[ back ] 26. Plutarch Dinner of the Seven Wise Men 2d–e.

[ back ] 27. Diogenes Laertius 2.1 = DK 12A1.

[ back ] 28. Cicero De Divinatione 1.50.112 = DK 12A5a.

[ back ] 29. Aelian Varia Historia 3.17 = DK 12A3.

[ back ] 30. DK 21B8.

[ back ] 31. Diogenes Laertius 9.20 = DK 21A1. For a general discussion of archaic foundation (κτίσις) poetry and argument against its autonomy as a literary genre, see Dougherty 1994.

[ back ] 32. Diogenes Laertius 8.2–3.

[ back ] 33. Peter Kingsley (1994) argues that the reports of Pythagoras’ travels should be taken seriously, especially since the sources (Herodotus 2.81 and Isocrates Busiris 28) date back to the fifth and fourth centuries BCE. Kingsley sees already in Heraclitus (DK 22B129) an implicit reference to Pythagorean travel. See also Guthrie (1962:163n2) who argues that Isocrates did not invent Pythagoras’ travel to Egypt but that it went back at least to Herodotus 2.123. For Isocrates’ Busiris, see Livingstone 2001.

[ back ] 34. Diogenes Laertius 8.52, 63, 66–67, 71, and 73 = DK 31A1; Athenaeus 14.620d = DK 31A12.

[ back ] 35. Diogenes Laertius 2.6–15 = DK 59A1.

[ back ] 36. DK 68B299.

[ back ] 37. Note that this story is also associated with Protagoras (Diogenes Laertius 9.34 = DK 68A1), quoted earlier on 94. See discussion below, 109n78.

[ back ] 38. Diogenes Laertius 9.35 = DK 68A1; Strabo 15.703 = DK 68A12; Cicero De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum 9.19.50 = DK 68A13; Aelian Varia Historia 4.20 = DK 68A16.

[ back ] 39. Diodorus Siculus (9.26.1) also mentions a meeting between Solon and Croesus, but there Solon is part of a larger delegation of the Seven Sages.

[ back ] 40. For the problem of chronology that this encounter poses, see How and Wells 1912, 1:66–67; and Asheri, Lloyd, and Corcella 2007:99, with bibliography.

[ back ] 41. Herman 1987:10.

[ back ] 42. “Ritual friendship appears as an overwhelmingly upper-class institution … People of humbler standing are significantly rare,” Herman 1987:34.

[ back ] 43. For the concept of symbolic capital, see the general discussion of how Bourdieu figures in my work, in the introduction, above, 17–19. Symbolic capital implies an expansion of the notion of economic capital. Resources available to agents in a field are not exclusively material but take the form of other rewards, such as recognition, honor, consecration, and prestige. Just like economic capital, symbolic capital is highly sought after and can be accumulated to assure profit (though not always economic) for its holders. For a concise statement of the significance of symbolic capital in Bourdieu’s sociology, see Bourdieu 1991:14–16. For an application of the concept of symbolic capital to Greek philosophy, see Nightingale 2000:157; see also Nightingale 1995 and 2004.

[ back ] 44. It seems to me that Marcel Mauss in his classic study The Gift outlines a pattern of exchange in “economic and legal systems that have preceded our own” that fits well with the Greek institution of xenia. He writes: “what they exchange is not solely property and wealth, movable and immovable goods, and things economically useful. In particular, such exchanges are acts of politeness: banquets, rituals, military services, women, children, dances, festivals, and fairs, in which economic transaction is only one element, and in which the passing on of wealth is only one feature of a much more general and enduring contract,” 5.

[ back ] 45. For manifestations of such threats, see examples in Herman 1987:1–5.

[ back ] 46. “Overtly or covertly, guest-friendship continued to act as a powerful bond between citizens of different cities and between citizens and members of various apolitical bodies. And by this persistence in the age of the cities, it became involved in actively shaping the value system of the polis and in formulating some of its most basic concepts and patterns of action,” Herman 1987:7.

[ back ] 47. It is important to note here that elite in this context does not have as its opposite democratic; rather, it is the opposite of forms of government that place the communal interests of the polis above the prosperity of individual members of the elite, which, of course, includes an oligarchy like Sparta. For an example of this, see Herman 1987:1.

[ back ] 48. Herman 1987:6.

[ back ] 49. The relationships developed within the xenia framework were in no way limited to the Greek world: “xenia relationships could exist between members of different Greek cities; between members of Greek cities and members of Greek ethne (for example, Macedonians, Epirotes); between Greeks and non-Greeks (for example, Persians, Lydians, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Romans); and finally, between different non-Greeks,” Herman 1987:12.

[ back ] 50. “The concepts, outlook and symbols of guest-friendship were transferred from the personal level to the level of the whole community and, invested with new meanings, they provided the city with a framework for interacting with foreign individuals and communities,” Herman 1987:8.

[ back ] 51. Herman 1987:139.

[ back ] 52. For a full discussion of the nature and content of such an exchange system, see Herman 1987:73–106.

[ back ] 53. Herman 1987:81.

[ back ] 54. Herman 1987:150.

[ back ] 55. Very often these roles would of course overlap: Solon, for example, was a wise man, a lawgiver and legislative expert, and a poet.

[ back ] 56. Herman 1987:84.

[ back ] 57. The cultural affiliation between xenia and travel will become more apparent in chapter five, when we explore the relevance of xenia for the travels to and activities at the Panhellenic centers.

[ back ] 58. Montiglio 2000:88 is a typical representative of this view: “[T]he first philosophers who took to wandering did so under no other compulsion than their intellectual curiosity.” See also Montiglio 2005.

[ back ] 59. Humphreys 1978:213–214.

[ back ] 60. Humphreys 1978:225.

[ back ] 61. Thomas 2000:12.

[ back ] 62. Montiglio 2000, esp. 87–88 and 93; and 2005, esp. 24–41.

[ back ] 63. Montiglio 2000:88; and 2005:91–117.

[ back ] 64. Montiglio 2000:88.

[ back ] 65. “But unlike Solon or Democritus, the Sophists did not travel in order to acquire knowledge. Hardly any ‘theory,’ any abstract curiosity or ethnographic interest motivated their travels. Rather, the Sophists travelled to sell their skill,” Montiglio 2000:92; and 2005:105–117.

[ back ] 66. “The wanderings of the Sophist within the wandering realm of opinion highlight his unphilosophical nature and match his ability to assume any shape, like a wizard. Wandering is a manifestation of the Sophist’s fleeting mutability, which in turn gives rise to a multiplication of definitions. In sum, the Sophist’s wanderings connote verbal deceits, greed, and an evasive, slippery nature,” Montiglio 2000:93.

[ back ] 67. Renfrew and Cherry 1986:2.

[ back ] 68. “The significant unit is thus seen, in this perspective, to be the larger community beyond the polity level, comprised of loosely related, yet politically independent, interacting groups,” Renfrew and Cherry 1986:7.

[ back ] 69. Renfrew and Cherry 1986:8.

[ back ] 70. Renfrew and Cherry 1986:16.

[ back ] 71. This is not to deny the operation of xenia in the visits to the Panhellenic centers, only to emphasize its more pervasive influence as a social institution.

[ back ] 72. Renfrew and Cherry 1986:158.

[ back ] 73. Renfrew and Cherry 1986:158.

[ back ] 74. “In several works he insists that by offering counsel to certain individuals he is continuing the friendship which he had with their fathers (cf. Epistle 5.1; Epistle 6.1). He specifically asks the addressees of Epistle 6 to consider the epistle as xenia, as a token of guest-friendship (4),” Too 1995:110.

[ back ] 75. Isocrates Epistle 6.1 and 6.4.

[ back ] 76. Epistle 7.13.

[ back ] 77. To Nicocles 2 and To Demonicus 2. Cf. Too 1995:110–111.

[ back ] 78. See passage quoted earlier on 94 (Philostratus Lives of the Sophists 1.10. = DK 80A2). Note that Diogenes Laertius attributes this story to Democritus (9.34), and he also emphasizes how important the relationship of xenia was between Democritus’ father and Xerxes to bring about the interaction with the Magi. The fact that this account of the affiliation with the Magi is attributed both to Protagoras and Democritus does not in any way, I think, decrease its value as evidence for the importance of xenia for the sophists. If anything, it supports the claim that the sharp division between the Presocratics and the sophists is a false one.

[ back ] 79. Cf. ADKins 1973:10, who notes that “βέλτιστοι certainly has socio-political overtones.”

[ back ] 80. Ostwald 1992:343.

[ back ] 81. See Dodds 1959:12–15, esp. 13n2.

[ back ] 82. Gorgias: Diodorus Siculus 12.53 = DK 82A4; Prodicus: Philostratus Lives of the Sophists 1.12 = DK 84A1a, Hippias Major 282c = DK 84A3; Hippias: Philostratus Lives of the Sophists 1.11 = DK 86A2.

[ back ] 83. “The concepts, outlook and symbols of guest-friendship were transferred from the personal level to the level of the whole community and, invested with new meanings, they provided the city with a framework for interacting with foreign individuals and communities,” Herman 1987:8.

[ back ] 84. Herman 1987:139: “time and again, [Greek states] included in their embassies people who already stood in some warm and enduring relationship with the persons to be approached.” Cf. Humphreys’ discussion of the process of selecting ambassadors in fifth-century Athens. She highlights some important qualifications: wealth, sympathetic disposition to the party involved, and “ties of hereditary proxeny or other personal links with the state to which the embassy was dispatched,” Humphreys 1977–1978:100.

[ back ] 85. Diogenes Laertius 1.24.

[ back ] 86. For a general discussion of the Seven Sages, see Snell 1971; Martin 1993; and Busine 2002. See also discussion in chapter five. For Anacharsis, see Kindstrand 1981.

[ back ] 87. Kindstrand 1981:8.

[ back ] 88. Diogenes Laertius 1.101.

[ back ] 89. Anacharsis was first included in this group by Ephorus (ca. 350 BCE) according to Diogenes Laertius 1.41, but Kindstrand 1981:38, argues that he was “closely associated with it at an early date.” For a fuller discussion and relevant bibliography, see Kindstrand 1981:33–50.

[ back ] 90. In this context, we might mention what Plutarch has to say about Solon (Solon 26.3; cf. Herodotus 5.113). He came to Cyprus and was well received by one of the kings, Philocyprus. Solon took such a liking to the king that he advised him to move his city to a more favorable place on a nearby plain, and he stayed to manage the founding of the new city (ἐπεμελήθη τοῦ συνοικισμοῦ). In return, Philocyprus thanked Solon by giving the new city, formerly known as Aipeia, the name of Soli. This is the foundation Solon refers to in fragment 19 (West).