Hippias of Elis (/ˈhɪpiəs/; Greek: Ἱππίας ὁ Ἠλεῖος; late 5th century BC) was a Greek sophist, and a contemporary of Socrates. With an assurance characteristic of the later sophists, he claimed to be regarded as an authority on all subjects, and lectured on poetry, grammar, history, politics, mathematics, and much else. Most of our knowledge of him is derived from Plato, who characterizes him as vain and arrogant.
Life
Hippias was born at Elis in the mid 5thcentury BC (c. 460 BC) and was thus a younger contemporary of Protagoras and Socrates. He lived at least as late as Socrates (399 BC). He was a disciple of Hegesidamus.[1] Owing to his talent and skill, his fellowcitizens availed themselves of his services in political matters, and in a diplomatic mission to Sparta.[2] But he was in every respect like the other sophists of the time: he travelled about in various towns and districts of Greece for the purpose of teaching and public speaking. The two dialogues of Plato, the Hippias major and the Hippias minor characterize him as vain and arrogant. The Hippias major (the authorship of this work by Plato is sometimes doubted) concerns the question about the beautiful, and purposely puts the knowledge and presumption of Hippias in a ludicrous light. The Hippias minor discusses the deficiency of our knowledge, and characterizes Hippias as ridiculously vain.
Work
Hippias was a man of very extensive knowledge, and he occupied himself not only with rhetorical, philosophical, and political studies, but was also well versed in poetry, music, mathematics, painting and sculpture, and he claimed some practical skill in the ordinary arts of life, for he used to boast of wearing on his body nothing that he had not made himself with his own hands, such as his sealring, his cloak, and shoes.[3] On the other hand, his knowledge always appears superficial, he does not enter into the details of any particular art or science, and is satisfied with certain generalities, which enabled him to speak on everything without a thorough knowledge of any. This arrogance, combined with ignorance, is the main cause which provoked Plato to his severe criticism of Hippias, as the sophist enjoyed a very extensive reputation, and thus had a large influence upon the education of the youths of the higher classes. A mathematical discovery ascribed to Hippias is sometimes called the quadratrix of Hippias.
His great skill seems to have consisted in delivering grand show speeches; and Plato has him arrogantly declaring that he would travel to Olympia, and there deliver before the assembled Greeks an oration on any subject that might be proposed to him;[4] and Philostratus in fact speaks of several such orations delivered at Olympia, and which created great sensation. If such speeches were published by Hippias, then no specimen has come down to us. Plato claims he wrote epic poetry, tragedies, dithyrambs, and various orations,[5] as well works on as grammar, music, rhythm, harmony, and a variety of other subjects.[6] He seems to have been especially fond of choosing antiquarian and mythical subjects for his show speeches. Athenaeus mentions a work of Hippias under the title Synagoge which is otherwise unknown.[7] An epigram of his is preserved in Pausanias.[8]
Natural law
Hippias is credited with originating the idea of natural law. This ideal began at first during the fifth century B.C. According to Hippias, natural law was never to be superseded as it was universal.[9] Hippias saw natural law as a habitual entity that humans take part in without premeditation. He regarded the elite in states as indistinguishable from one another and thus they should perceive each other as so. Because of this they should consider and treat each other as a society of a unanimous state. These ideas were passed on through Cynicism and Stoicism later being the foundation for turning Roman law in legislation.[10] Along with natural law, Hippias also wrote about selfsufficiency as a binding principle. He used this principle in his teachings as he gathered knowledge in numerous subjects so as to be never outwitted or have his reputation questioned.[11]
See also
Cynicism (Philosophy)
Natural Law
Quadratrix of Hippias
Roman Law
Selfsufficiency
Stoicism
Notes
Suda, Hippias
Plato, Hippias major, 281a, 286a; Philostratus, Vit. Soph. i. 11.
Plato, Hippias major, 285c, Hippias minor, 368b, Protagoras, 315c; Philostratus, Vit. Soph. i. 11.; Themistius, Orat. xxix. p. 345. d.
Plat. Hippias minor, 363
Plato Hippias minor, 368
Plato, Hippias major, 285ff; comp. Philostratus, Vit. Soph. i. 11.; Plutarch, Num. 1, 23; Dio Chrysostom, Orat. lxxi.
Athenaeus, xiii. 609
Pausanias, v. 25
Kainz, Howard P. (2004). Natural Law: An Introduction and Reexamination. Chicago: Open Court. ISBN 0812694546.
"Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy". Retrieved 17 February 2014.
Diels, Hermann; Sprague, Rosamond Kent (1972). The Older Sophists: A Complete Translation by Several Hands of the Fragments in Die Fragmente Der Vorsokratiker. Columbia: University of South Carolina. ISBN 0872205568.
References
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Smith, William, ed. (1870). "Hippias". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. p. 479.
External links
Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Hippias of Elis" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Hippias", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews.
Hippias' Attempt to Trisect an Angle at Convergence
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Sophists of the 5th century BC
Antiphon Callicles Critias Damon Dionysodorus Euenus Euthydemus Gorgias Hippias Lycophron Prodicus Protagoras Thrasymachus
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Ancient Greek and Hellenistic mathematics (Euclidean geometry)
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Ancient Greek schools of philosophy
PreSocratic
Ionian
Epimenides of Knossos Pherecydes of Syros Diogenes Metrodorus of Lampsacus Xenophanes Xeniades Theodorus of Cyrene Anacharsis
Milesian
Thales Anaximander Anaximenes
Ephesian
Heraclitus Cratylus Antisthenes
Atomist
Leucippus Democritus
Italian
Hippo Musaeus of Athens Themistoclea
Pythagorean
Pythagoras Hippasus Philolaus Archytas Alcmaeon Brontinus Theano Arignote Myia Damo Calliphon Hermotimus Metrodorus of Cos Eurytus
Eleatic
Parmenides Zeno Melissus
Pluralist
Anaxagoras Archelaus Empedocles
Sophist
Protagoras Gorgias Prodicus Hippias Antiphon Lycophron Damon Callicles Thrasymachus Euthydemus Dionysodorus Euenus Critias
Socratic
Socrates Xenophon Cebes of Thebes Simmias of Thebes
Cynic
Antisthenes Diogenes Diodorus Zoilus Onesicritus Philiscus Crates Hipparchia Metrocles Monimus Cleomenes Bion Sotades Menippus Menedemus Cercidas Teles Meleager Favonius Demetrius Dio Chrysostom Agathobulus Secundus Demonax Peregrinus Proteus Theagenes Oenomaus Pancrates Crescens Heraclius Horus Asclepiades Sallustius
Cyrenaic
Aristippus Arete of Cyrene Aristippus the Younger Theodorus the Atheist Antipater of Cyrene Aristotle of Cyrene Hegesias of Cyrene Anniceris Dionysius the Renegade Euhemerus
Eretrian
Phaedo of Elis Menedemus Asclepiades of Phlius
Megarian
Euclid of Megara Ichthyas Thrasymachus Eubulides Stilpo Nicarete Pasicles Bryson
Dialectical
Clinomachus Apollonius Cronus Euphantus Dionysius Diodorus Cronus Philo Alexinus Panthoides
Peripatetic
Aristotle Aristoxenus Clearchus of Soli Dicaearchus Eudemus of Rhodes Theophrastus Strato of Lampsacus Lyco of Troas Aristo of Ceos Critolaus Diodorus of Tyre Erymneus Andronicus of Rhodes Cratippus Andronicus of Rhodes Boethus of Sidon Aristocles of Messene Aspasius Adrastus Alexander of Aphrodisias Themistius Olympiodorus the Elder
Platonic
Plato Eudoxus Philip of Opus Aristonymus Coriscus Erastus of Scepsis Demetrius of Amphipolis Euaeon of Lampsacus Heraclides Python of Aenus Hestiaeus of Perinthus Lastheneia of Mantinea Timolaus of Cyzicus Speusippus Axiothea of Phlius Heraclides Ponticus Menedemus of Pyrrha Xenocrates Crantor Polemon Crates of Athens
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Middle Platonic
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Neopythagorean
Nigidius Figulus Apollonius of Tyana Moderatus of Gades Nicomachus Alexicrates Anaxilaus Bolus of Mendes Cronius Damis Numenius of Apamea Secundus the Silent Quintus Sextius Sotion Theon of Smyrna
Pyrrhonist
Pyrrho Aenesidemus Agrippa the Skeptic Arcesilaus Hecataeus of Abdera Heraclides of Tarentum Herodotus of Tarsus Menodotus of Nicomedia Nausiphanes Sextus Empiricus Theodas of Laodicea Timon of Phlius
Stoic
Greek
Zeno of Citium Persaeus Aratus of Soli Athenodorus of Soli Aristo of Chios Apollophanes of Antioch Dionysius the Renegade Sphaerus Herillus of Carthage Cleanthes Eratosthenes Hermagoras of Amphipolis Chrysippus Dioscorides Aristocreon Zeno of Tarsus Eudromus Crates of Mallus Diogenes of Babylon Zenodotus Apollodorus of Seleucia Basilides Antipater of Tarsus Apollodorus of Athens Archedemus of Tarsus Panaetius of Rhodes Boethus of Sidon Polemon of Athens Marcus Vigellius Heraclides of Tarsus Dardanus Mnesarchus Publius Rutilius Rufus Stilo Dionysius of Cyrene Quintus Lucilius Balbus Hecato of Rhodes Diotimus the Stoic Posidonius Crinis Proclus of Mallus Diodotus the Stoic Geminus of Rhodes Athenodoros Cordylion Apollonius of Tyre Cato the Younger Antipater of Tyre Porcia Catonis Apollonides Jason of Nysa Athenodoros Cananites Quintus Sextius Arius Didymus
Roman
Attalus Papirius Fabianus Seneca Thrasea Paetus Lucius Annaeus Cornutus Chaeremon of Alexandria Paconius Agrippinus Publius Egnatius Celer Persius Helvidius Priscus Arulenus Rusticus Musonius Rufus Fannia Euphrates the Stoic Cleomedes Epictetus Hierocles Flavius Arrianus Basilides Apollonius of Chalcedon Claudius Maximus Junius Rusticus Marcus Aurelius

Ancient Greek and Hellenistic mathematics (Euclidean geometry)
Mathematicians
(timeline)
Anaxagoras Anthemius Archytas Aristaeus the Elder Aristarchus Apollonius Archimedes Autolycus Bion Bryson Callippus Carpus Chrysippus Cleomedes Conon Ctesibius Democritus Dicaearchus Diocles Diophantus Dinostratus Dionysodorus Domninus Eratosthenes Eudemus Euclid Eudoxus Eutocius Geminus Heliodorus Heron Hipparchus Hippasus Hippias Hippocrates Hypatia Hypsicles Isidore of Miletus Leon Marinus Menaechmus Menelaus Metrodorus Nicomachus Nicomedes Nicoteles Oenopides Pappus Perseus Philolaus Philon Philonides Porphyry Posidonius Proclus Ptolemy Pythagoras Serenus Simplicius Sosigenes Sporus Thales Theaetetus Theano Theodorus Theodosius Theon of Alexandria Theon of Smyrna Thymaridas Xenocrates Zeno of Elea Zeno of Sidon Zenodorus
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Results
In Elements
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Apollonius
Apollonius's theorem
Other
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