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The most famous sophist was Protagoras1, a contemporary of Pericles2 from Abdera in northern Greece.3 Protagoras emigrated to Athens about 450 B.C. when he was about forty and spent most of his career there. His oratorical ability and his upright character so impressed the men of Athens that they soon chose him to devise a code of laws for a new colony to be founded in Thurii in southern Italy in 444 B.C. Some of Protagoras' ideas eventually aroused considerable controversy, such as his agnostic position concerning the gods: “Whether the gods exist I cannot discover, nor what their form is like, for there are many impediments to knowledge, [such as] the obscurity of the subject and the brevity of human life.”

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