[316a] but owing to the depth of his voice the room was filled with a booming sound which made the talk indistinct.We had only just come in, when close on our heels entered Alcibiades the good-looking, as you call him and I agree that he is, and Critias, son of Callaeschrus. So, when we had entered, after some more little delays over certain points we had to examine, we went up to Protagoras, [316b] and I said: Protagoras, you see we have come to you, Hippocrates and I.Is it your wish, he asked, to converse with me alone, or in company with others?It is all the same to us, I replied: let me first tell you our object in coming, and then you must decide.Well, what is your object? he asked.My friend Hippocrates is a native of the city, a son of Apollodorus and one of a great and prosperous family, while his own natural powers seem to make him a match for anyone of his age. [316c] I fancy he is anxious to gain consideration in our city, and he believes he can best gain it by consorting with you. So now it is for you to judge whether it will be fittest for you to converse on this matter privately with us alone, or in company with others.You do right, Socrates, he said, to he so thoughtful on my behalf. For when one goes as a stranger into great cities, and there tries to persuade the best of the young men to drop their other connexions, either with their own folk or with foreigners, both old and young, and to join one's own circle, with the promise of improving them by this connexion with oneself, [316d] such a proceeding requires great caution; since very considerable jealousies are apt to ensue, and numerous enmities and intrigues. Now I tell you that sophistry is an ancient art, and those men of ancient times who practised it, fearing the odium it involved, disguised it in a decent dress, sometimes of poetry, as in the case of Homer, Hesiod, and Simonides sometimes of mystic rites and soothsayings, as did Orpheus, Musaeus and their sects; and sometimes too, I have observed, of athletics, as with Iccus1 of Tarentum and another still living—as great a sophist as any— [316e] Herodicus2 of Selymbria, originally of Megara; and music was the disguise employed by your own Agathocles,3 a great sophist, Pythocleides4 of Ceos, and many more. All these, as I say, from fear of ill-will made use of these arts
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