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How did Prodicus make his living?

The Sophists Read more from
Chapter Ancient Philosophy

Prodicus (b. 460B.C.E.), a Sophist, was an ambassador for his home city of Ceos. He traveled widely and became rich from his exhibitions. One of his specialties was distinguishing between synonyms, and Socrates claimed in Plato’s Protagoras and Meno to have been his student. Prodicus had two versions of his talks: the one-drachma lecture and the 50-drachma lecture. Socrates joked that he would have been more learned about words if he’d been able to afford the 50-drachma lecture. The one-drachma lecture had much larger audiences, but, according to Aristotle, Prodicus sometimes gave the larger audiences a bargain by “slipping in the 50-drachma lecture for them.” If Aristotle’s story is true, scholarly commentators have overlooked the possibility that the Sophists invented modern sales techniques.

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