The Second Sophistic: A Cultural Phenomenon in the Roman Empire

By Graham Anderson | Go to book overview
Save to active project

9

Adoxa paradoxa: the pepaideumenos at play

So far we have noted those activities of sophists which in one sense or another are predominantly serious. But a sophist could strike other poses that were much less so, and attitudes that fostered a more light-hearted literature could influence the main body of his output. It is worth exploring this seldom discussed aspect of sophistic activity as a force in its own right.


'THINGS WITHOUT HONOUR': THE WORLD OF THEADOXON

In the course of his travels Apollonius of Tyana meets a conceited composer of an panegyric on Zeus, and wryly acknowledges him to be an expert in encomium:

'And for that reason, ' the young man replied, 'I have composed an encomium of gout as well, and of blindness and deafness.' 'And why not of dropsy into the bargain?' said Apollonius, 'and you mustn't deprive catarrh of your talents, if you really must praise those sorts of things. And while you're about it, you would do even better to attend funerals and rehearse encomia of the diseases the victims died of; for the fathers, children and close relatives of the dead will feel less pain if you do.' 1

It is this kind of activity, the writing of so-called adoxa, or praise of things normally disreputable or worthless, 2 that has brought the Sophistic itself most quickly into disrepute in the past. There is felt to be something inscrutably perverse or stupid about a society whose most learned members expend their energies on the praise of, for example, hair or baldness, as Dio

-171-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Second Sophistic: A Cultural Phenomenon in the Roman Empire
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 303

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?