The Ancient Library

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(Plat. Protag. p. 316, d. ; Suid. s. v.), whom he is described as haying imitated (Plat. Prot. pp. 339, c., 340, e., 341, b.), and with whom he was with­out doubt acquainted, as the poet did not die till the 79th, or the beginning of the 80th Olympiad. Prodicus came frequently to Athens for the pur­pose of transacting business on behalf of his native city, and even attracted admiration in the senate as an orator (Plat. Hipp. Maj. p. 282, comp. Philos. Vit. Soph. i. 12), although his voice was deep and apt to fall (Plat. Protag. p. 316, a.; Philost. I. c.). Plutarch describes him as slender and weak (Plut. an seni ger. sit Resp. c. 15) ; and Plato also alludes to his weakliness, and a degree of effeminacy which resulted therefrom (Prot. p. 315, d.). Philostratus is the first who taxes him with luxury and avarice (I. c., comp. Welcker, Kleine Schriften, ii. p. 513, &c.). In the Prota­goras of Plato, which points to the 87th Olympiad (any more exact determination is disputable) as the time at which the dialogue is supposed to take place, Prodicus is mentioned as having previously arrived in Athens. He had been brought forward in a play of Eupolis, and in the Clouds and the Birds of Aristophanes (1. 360), which belong to 01. 89 and 01. 91, and came frequently to Athens on public business. (Plut. Hipp. Maj. p. 282.) Still later, when Isocrates (born 01. 86. 1) is men­tioned as his disciple (see Welcker, Prodikos von Keos, Vorg'dnger des Socrates* published first in the Rheinisches Museum der Philologie, von Welcker and Nake, i. 1—39, 533—545, afterwards in F. G. Welcker's Kleine Schriften, ii. p. 392—541), and in the year of the death of Socrates, Prodicus was still living. (Plat. Apol. p. 19. c.) The dates of his birth and death cannot be determined. The statement of Suidas (s. v.9 comp. Schol. on Plat, de Rep. x. p. 600. c.), that he was condemned to the hemlock cup as a corrupter of the youth in Athens, sounds very suspicious (comp. Welcker, p. 582). According to the statement of Philostratus (p. 483, comp. 496, ed. Olearius), on which little more re­liance can be placed, he delivered his lecture on virtue and vice in Thebes and Sparta also. The Apology of Plato unites him with Gorgias and Hippias in the statement, that into whatever city they might come, they were competent to instruct the youth. Lucian (Vit. Herod, c. 3) mentions him among those who had held lectures at Olym-pia. In the dialogues of Plato he is mentioned or introduced, not indeed without irony, though, as compared with the other sophists, with a certain degree of esteem. (Hipp. Maj. p. 282, Theaet. p. 151, b., Pliaedo, 60, Protag. p. 341, a,, Char-mid, p. 163, d., Meno, p. 96, Cratyl. p. 384. b., Symp. p. 177, Euthyd. p. 305.) Aristophanes in the Clouds (1. 360) deals more indulgently with him than with Socrates ; and the Xenophontic Socrates, for the purpose of combating the volup­tuousness of Aristippus, borrows from the book of the wise Prodicus (ripoS. 6 aotyos) the story of the choice of Hercules (Memor. ii. 1. § 21, &c.). This separation of Prodicus from the other so­phists has been pointed out by Welcker in the above-quoted treatise (p. 400, &c.). Like Prota­goras and others, Prodicus delivered lectures in return for the payment of contributions (eTriSei-Kvvrat —Xen. Mem. ii. 1. § 21, comp. Philostr. p. 482; Diog. Lae'rt. ix. 50; ripavifavro—t:/^, Plat. Prot. 314, b.) of from half a drachma to 50 drach­mae, probably according as the hearers limited them-


selves to a single lecture, or entered into an agreement for a more complete course (Aacioch. 6 ; Cratyl p. 384, b.; Arist. Khet. iii. 14. § 9; Suid. s. v.; comp. Welcker, p. 414). Prodicus is said to have amassed a great amount of money (Hipp. Maj. p. 282, d.; Xen. Symp. iv. 62, i. 5 ; on the practice of paying for instruction and lectures, comp. again. Welcker, I. c. p. 412, £c.). The assertion that he hunted after rich young men, is only found in Philostratus (p. 496). As Prodicus and others maintained with regard to themselves, that they stood equally on the confines of philo­sophy and politics (Euthyd. p. 305, c.), so Plato represents his instructions as chiefly ethical (Meno9 p. 96, d.; comp. de Rep. x. p. 600, e.), and gives the preference to his distinction of ideas, as of those of courage, rashness, boldness, over similar attempts of other sophists (Loch. p. 197, c.). What pertained to this point was probably only contained in individual show-orations (Diog. Lae'rt., Philost. II. cc.), which he usually declined. (Philost. p. 482.) Though known to Callimachus, they do not appear to have been much longer preserved. (Welcker, p. 465, &c.) In contrast with Gorgias and others, who boasted of possessing the art of making the small appear great, the great small, and of expatiating in long or short speeches, Pro­dicus required that the speech should be neither long nor short, but of the proper measure (Plat. Phaed. p. 267, a. ; comp. Gorg. p. 449, c., Prot. p. 334, e., 335, b., 338, d. ; Arist. Rhet. iii. 17), and it is only as associated with other sophists that he is charged with endeavouring to make the weaker cause strong by means of his rhetoric. (Cic. Brut. c. 8.) He paid especial attention to the correct use of words (Plat. Euthyd. p. 187, e., Cratyl. p. 384, b., comp. Galen, in Hippocr. de Articul. iv. p. 461. 1), and the distinction of ex­pressions related in sense (Lach. p. 197, d., Prot. p. 340, a,, 341, a., Clmrmid. p. 163, d., Meno, p. 75, c., comp. Themist. Oral iv. p. 113). As disciples of Prodicus in oratory, we find mentioned the orators Theramenes (Aeschin. in Athen. v. p. 220, b. ; Schol. ad Aristoph. Nub. p. 360), and Isocrates (Dionys. Hal. Isocr. 1 ; Phot. cod. 260; comp. Welcker, p. 463, &c.). Thucydides is said to have appropriated from him his accuracy in the use of words (MarcelL Vit. Time. p. xiii., Bekk.; comp. Schol. ap. Hemsterhus. Annot. in Lucian., App. 3 ; Maxim. Tyr. Dissert, vii. p. 72, Davis.)

The speech on the choice of Hercules (Philost. p. 496 ; Xenophon, Mem. ii. 1. § 21, only quotes the ff^yypafjifjia irepl tov 'Hpa/cAeous) was entitled

pai. (Suid. s. v. THpai and IIpoS. ; Schol. ad Aristoph. Nub. 1. 360. Respecting the different explanations of this title, see Welcker, p. 466, &c., who refers it to the youthful bloom of Hercules.) To Hercules, as he was on the point, at his entrance on the age of youth, of deciding for one of the two paths of life, that of virtue and that of vice, there appear two women, the one of dignified beauty, adorned with purity, modesty, and discretion, the other of a voluptuous form, and meretricious look and dress. The latter promises to lead him by the shortest road, without any toil, to the enjoy­ment of every pleasure. The other, while she reminds him of his progenitors and his noble na­ture, does not conceal from him that the gods have not granted what is really beautiful and good apart from trouble and careful striving. The

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