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date: 15 January 2021

Second Sophisticlocked

  • Ewen Bowie

Extract

Second Sophistic is the term regularly applied in modern scholarship to the period c. 60–230 ce when *declamation became the most prestigious literary activity in the Greek world. Philostratus (see philostrati (no. 2)) coined the term in his Lives of the Sophists, claiming a link between the Classical *sophists and the movement whose first member he identified as Nicetes of Smyrna in the reign of *Nero (Lives 1. 19). The term sophist (σοφιστής; verb σοφιστεύειν) seems restricted to rhetors (public speakers, see rhetoric, greek) who entered upon a career of public displays, though usage even in the Digest is erratic, and Philostratus' Dionysius of Miletus (Lives 1. 22) is simply rhetor on his sarcophagus at Ephesus (Inschriften von Ephesos426).On the evidence of Philostratus, whose 40 lives of imperial sophists include several Severan contemporaries, and of other literary and epigraphic texts, it is clear that for these 170 years declamation was not simply an exercise for teachers of rhetoric and their pupils but a major art form in its own right. It flourished especially in Athens and the great cities of western Asia Minor, above all *Pergamum, *Smyrna, and *Ephesus.

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