Sweet, David R., “Introduction to the Greater Hippias,” The Roots of Political Philosophy: Ten Forgotten Socratic Dialogues, ed. Thomas L. Pangle, Ithaca. In the Greater Hippias, Plato’s Socrates questions — “in order to see who is wise and who is not” (Apology 23b) — the Sophist Hippias of Elis. The Hippias Major The Hippias Major, Attributed to Plato. With Introductory Essay and Commentary by Dorothy Tarrant, M.A. + Cambridge.

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My questioner will say, Now start again from the beginning since you have missed the mark this time. The Greater Hippias is an inferior dialogue in which Socrates argues with Hippias the Sophist about the beautiful.

But may I without hindering you imitate him, and when you answer, take exception to what you say, in order that you may give me as much practice as possible? Socrates is in prison, sentenced to die when the sun sets. Or would all other pleasures be for this reason no less beautiful than they?

Will not the most beautiful maiden appear ugly? Socrates now asks Hippias to answer Socrates as if he were answering “that man who is always questioning” Socrates.

For now too, until we were admonished by you of our foolish state of mind — shall I continue to speak and make you a still further exhibition of our thoughts on the subject, or shall I not speak? If Plato, at this stage in his philosophical development, assumes that every word has a general definitionthen that may blind him to the word-magic at play in his argument.

If, therefore, it makes no difference to you, I would like to play the critic. I maintain that always, everywhere, and for every man it is most beautiful to be rich, healthy, honored by the Greeks, to reach old age and, after burying his parents nobly, himself to be borne to the tomb with solemn ceremony by his own children.

Just now, before your admonition of our stupidities in these matters, I had some further thoughts geater them [i.

The authorship of Hippias Major has been in dispute.

What could be a better way to pass the time between now and the sunset? The reason is that rich and famous politicians, priests, poets, and a host of others pretend to know what is good, true, holy, and beautiful, but when Socrates questions them, they are shown to be foolish rather than wise.


If then beauty is the cause of good, then the good would be brought into existence by beauty, and it would appear that we devote ourselves to the pursuit of wisdom and of all other beautiful things for the reason that their product and offspring, the good, is worthy of devotion. But yet it is by power that those are powerful who are powerful for surely it is grreater by powerlessness.

What is both beautiful and most precious is the ability to produce an eloquent and beautiful speech to a law court or a council meeting or any other official body whom you are addressing, to convince your audience, and to depart with the greatest of all prizes, your own salvation and that of your friends and property. Because is there a difference between the clothes that make the man beautiful i. The Greater Hippias presents the great sophist of Elis as a distinguished representative of his profession, thoroughly imbued with self-confidence and self-importance, and utterly unable to meet the questionings of Socrates.

So whenever I go home to my own house, and he hears me saying these things, he asks me if I am not ashamed that I have the face to talk about beautiful practices, when it is so plainly shown, to my confusion, that I do not even know what the beautiful itself is.

Robert G. Hoerber, Plato’s Greater Hippias – PhilPapers

The digital Loeb Classical Library loebclassics. We use cookies on this site to enhance your user experience. Like so many other works by Aristotle, the Poetics has dominated the way we have thought about all forms of dramatic performance in Europe and America ever since.

For it could not be the appropriate, since that, by your statement, makes things appear more beautiful than they are, but does not let them appear such as they are. I think his assault would be justified. In the house of Agathon, a group of friends – each very different in personality and background – meet to consider and discuss various kinds of love.

But look at it in this way was not the cause seen to be creating? Then the Lacedaemonians in not giving you money and entrusting their sons to you, act contrary to law.

Then I think so, too, Socrates, since that is your own belief. Certainly for what you say hipias well said, Socrates. For we, my friend, were so stupid, before you spoke, as to have an opinion concerning you and me, that each of us was one, but that we were not both that which hippizs of us was — for we are not one, but two — so foolish were we.


Subscribe to receive information about forthcoming books, seasonal catalogs, and more, in newsletters tailored to your interests. By putting this question, he just wants to find out what is [i. So by this argument the beautiful persons and beautiful customs and all that we mentioned just now are beautiful because they are beneficial.

That he will attempt it, my admirable friend, I am sure but whether the attempt will make him ridiculous, the event will show. What a boor, to dare to introduce hi;pias vulgar examples into a grave discussion!

Socrates asks Hippias how it is that the old yippias took no treater part in politics, and Hippias says the reason is “incapacity, the lack of the power to carry their wisdom into” public life d.

A dialogue between Socrates and Meno probes the subject hippiias ethics. In the Hippias MajorSocrates and Hippias set out to find a definition for “beauty”, but hilpias destined to fail due to their inability to formulate an answer which encompasses the entire concept.

To which group do you assign the beautiful? The principal subject of the Greater Hippias is the Greek concept kalonusually rendered by the English word ‘beauty’, but meaning not only ‘handsome’ but also: The marriage between character and thought bursts forth as the guests gather at Agathon’s house to celebrate the success of his first tragedy.

But nevertheless the man must be answered, and I will declare my opinion beforehand: Or will you too assault me without trial, refusing me a hearing?

Plato’s Greater Hippias

The cause, then, is not the cause of the cause, but of that which comes into being through it. For if this category [i. Give as a gift. The Frogsline