Was there an intellectual revolution in 5th century Athens?

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A lot of the things which surround us nowadays such as our art, architecture, literature, poetry, drama and political system are derived from the early Greeks. It is thanks to both written and spoken arts of expression that democratic and republican forms of government were developed. In the ancient world, the Greeks were the first people who attempted to analyse the ways in which humans communicate with each other. Greece is therefore the founder of the arts of discourse, which not only includes rhetoric but also logic and grammar. Even though other major ancient cvilisations created literature, it was the Greeks who produced analytic treatises which endeavoured to reveal the many levels of human communication. Schools opened with the aim of teaching argument and persuasion and this led to the formulation of a range of precepts which was the main source of knowledge for literary followers during the centuries thereafter. The increasing demand for education in 5th century BCE Greece brought forward a class of teachers known as “Sophists.” They were a professional class rather than a just a school, and therefore, were dispersed all over Greece and showed evidence of having professional rivalries. One could assume that the educational demand was partly for genuine knowledge, but it mostly mirrored an aspiration for spurious learning that would eventually lead to political triumph. To have a deeper understanding of the Sophists, we must first establish a definition for that particular term. The name “Sophist” derives from the Greek words “Sophos” and “Sophia” which mean “wise” and “wisdom.” It was in the early years of the 5th century that the term “sophist” was attributed to those so called “wise men.” “A Sophist is a man who claims to teach sohpia and that unique quality arete, which combines the factors both of high moral virtue and worldly success.”

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