Sophist Paper - Michels 1 Megan Michels COMS 330 Dr Duffy...

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Michels 1 Megan Michels COMS 330 Dr. Duffy 04/15/10 Hippias Despite the criticism that he receives from Plato, Hippias undoubtedly contributed to the sophistic movement of his time, and is acknowledged for his wide array of knowledge. Hippias of Elis was a younger generation sophist who lived as a contemporary to Socrates. Hippias was born in Greece around 485 B.C.E., and like all of the sophists, he traveled around to many towns in Greece to teach a multitude of subjects for anyone who was willing to pay his fees. According to Guthrie, Hippias “was unlike most Sophists in being a Dorian, and hence traveled to more Dorian cities than to Athens, most often to Sparta but also Sicily,” (280). Hippias was well respected for his versatility in his teaching, and was depended on by his people for representation abroad. As a teacher, his goal was not to simply give his students the wisdom that he had, but to prepare them for argument; thus giving him the reputation of being more universal than other sophists, (Barrett 23). Hippias is recognized for being a man of great wisdom and memory, for his belief in nature’s universal laws, and for his reliance on self-sufficiency. Hippias is praised for being a man of memory. Through presenting eloquent speeches or giving extemporaneous discussions, Hippias demonstrated a “Macaulay-like memory, whereby he could retain a list of 50 names after a single hearing,” (Guthrie, 282). He absorbed learning quickly and easily, and is known to have created his own system of mnemonics as a strategy for retaining information, (“Hippias”). Hippias also
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Michels 2 implemented this mnemonic system into his teachings for his students so that they could learn his method of memorization too. When he taught at festivals in Olympia, he would boast that he could give an extemporaneous answer to any question from the audience, demonstrating his immense assortment of knowledge, (Guthrie 282). Despite the respect
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