Protagoras, of all the ancient philosophers, has perhaps attracted the most interest in modern times. His saying ‘Man is the measure of all things’ caused Schiller to adopt him as the patron of the Oxford pragmatists, and has generally earned him the title of the first humanist. Yet the exact delineation of his philosophcal position remains a baffling task. Neumann, writing on Die Problematik des ‘Homo-mensura’ Satzes in 1938,2 concludes that no certainty whatever can be reached on the meaning of (...) the dictum, since ‘man’, ‘measure’, and ‘things’ are all ambiguous, nor can we tell which of the three is the predicate. The time is past when it was believed that a man's philosophy could be understood apart from the events of his life and the circumstances of his age: yet in the case of Protagoras the historical method of approach has hardly been attempted, although the impact of environment was perhaps more decisive in the formation of philosophical concepts in the Greek world than anywhere else. The reality about which the Greek philosopher spoke had three aspects: it was either the one universe of physics, or the political unity, or God. For example, the book of Heracleitus Περ φσεως was divided into three chapters or logoi, About the Whole, a political, and a theological. Neither physics nor theology supplies from its own subject-matter the form in which this reality was described. (shrink)
The idea of the philosopher-statesman finds its first literary expression in Plato's Republic, where Socrates, facing the ‘third wave’ of criticism of his ideal State, how it can be realized in practice, declares2 that it will be sufficient ‘to indicate the least change that would affect a transformation into this type of government. There is one change’, he claims, ‘not a small change certainly, nor an easy one, but possible.’ ‘Unless either philosophers become kings in their countries, or those who (...) are now called kings and rulers come to be sufficiendy inspired with a genuine desire for wisdom; unless, that is to say, political power and philosophy meet together, … there can be no rest from troubles for states.’. (shrink)
The influence which the Pythagorean society and its leading doctrines exercised upon Athenian intellectual and political developments in the late fifth century leads us to seek in Pythagoras a figure of greater stature and more clear-cut features than modern scholarship is prepared to allow. To us he is a great name but little more, the large body of detailed information about his life which is available in later writers being dismissed as fabulous. This scepticism was reasonable enough when the reader (...) was faced with the garbled hotchpotch of an Iamblichus or a Porphyry. But since the task has been put in hand of determining what portions of this tradition can safely be attributed to the various authorities who concerned themselves with the Pythagorean story in the fourth century, and of considering the respective historical value of these authorities, the scepticism of, for example, Burnet's account becomes unjustified. It is now possible to present a fairly detailed account of Pythagoras' activity, which has at least as much claim to credence as a great deal of what we now readily accept as ancient history, and is furthermore consistent with the general picture of the man that emerges from a careful scrutiny of classical sources. Not only for its own sake, but in the context of the increasingly fruitful investigation of fifth-century Athenian movements, I feel that it may be useful to put together such an account of Pythagoras. It will certainly be regarded by some as mere fiction, but may nevertheless provide others with a convenient summary of what the fifth- and fourth-century writers thought and believed about a man and a movement that had profound influence upon their times. I hope at the same time to suggest some links between what Pythagoras thought and did and the main tradition of Greek social behaviour. If Pythagoras was, as I believe, not so much an innovator as a reformer and developer of some of the central institutions of Greek life, the possibility will be opened of regarding various phenomena in mainland Greece which we have been asked to call Pythagorean, e.g. the Socratic phrontisterion as it appears in the Clouds, not as deriving from Pythagoras but as a parallel growth to the Pythagorean synedria and nourished by the same root. (shrink)
At the Editors' request, I have given this paper the final revision which Mr. Morrison has not time to give. This was needed chiefly in II, in the establishment of the stemma, and in the early part of IV. In these parts Mr. Morrison must not be held responsible for the details, though I have endeavoured to give his conclusions. In II the credit is his for the identification of the sororis filius in Quintilian, Inst. Or. xi. 2. 14, as (...) Antiochus, for the view that Antiochus is an Aleuad, and therefore the three Echecratidae also, and for the consequent interpretation of Thuc. i. i n . In IV I found it difficult to revise Mr. Morrison's detailed interpretation of ‘Herodes’ and have omitted much. It will be understood that this procedure does little justice to his views, though I have tried to suppress nothing which bore directly on his main argument. (shrink)
IN 19052 Dr. Tarn put forward the theory that the trireme had three squads of oarsmen, one forward, one amidships, and one aft, and that its oar system was similar to that of the Venetian a zenzile galleys of the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, ships in which 'three oarsmen sit to each bench, each pulling his own oar, so that the man who sits furthest inboard pulls the longest oar.