Walkways around the Agora (market) from The Greeks documentary
Walkways around the Agora (market) from The Greeks documentary

The Sophists were a loose collection of thinkers who taught wealthy Athenians to argue convincingly: a useful skill for anyone who wanted to do well in politics. Because they accepted payment for revealing their insights, Socrates strongly disapproved of them, and he made it his personal quest to expose the lazy thinking and unexamined assumption many of their ideas were based upon.

Unfortunately, his constant arguing with the Sophists made Socrates a figure of ridicule and in 423 BC his activities became the subject of a famous play. Written by the comic playwright Aristophanes, 'The Clouds' portrayed Socrates as a master of pointless wordplay and verbal trickery. The head of an institute called 'The Thinkery,' he literally had his head in the clouds.

Unfazed by such notoriety, Socrates continued his pursuit of the truth, but the charges made against him in the 'The Clouds' would come back to haunt him in the future.






The Sophists