His teacher in music, most writers state, was Damon (whose name, they say, should be pronounced with the first syllable short); but Aristotle1
says he had a thorough musical training at the hands of Pythocleides. Now Damon seems to have been a consummate sophist, but to have taken refuge behind the name of music in order to conceal from the multitude his real power, and he associated with Pericles, that political athlete, as it were, in the capacity of rubber and trainer.
However, Damon was not left unmolested in this use of his lyre as a screen, but was ostracized for being a great schemer and a friend of tyranny, and became a butt of the comic poets. At all events, Plato2
represented some one as inquiring of him thus:—
In the first place tell me then, I beseech thee, thou who art
The Cheiron, as they say, who to Pericles gave his craft.
Pericles was also a pupil of Zeno the Eleatic, who discoursed on the natural world, like Parmenides, and perfected a species of refutative catch which was sure to bring an opponent to grief; as Timon of Phlius expressed it:—
His was a tongue that could argue both ways with a fury resistless,
Zeno's; assailer of all things.
But the man who most consorted with Pericles, and did most to clothe him with a majestic demeanor that had more weight than any demagogue's appeals, yes, and who lifted on high and exalted the dignity of his character, was Anaxagoras the Clazomenian, whom men of that day used to call
‘Nous,’ either because they admired that comprehension of his, which proved of such surpassing greatness in the investigation of nature; or because he was the first to enthrone in the universe, not Chance, nor yet Necessity, as the source of its orderly arrangement, but Mind (Nous) pure and simple, which distinguishes and sets apart, in the midst of an otherwise chaotic mass, the substances which have like elements.