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The Journal of Jerristocratosthenes: A Tragic Epic Story thingJuly 8th, 443 BC It was a day like any other, warm and humid with the sun shining,yet it felt different somehow. It felt dark, dark like the depths of anocean, dark as the deepest night. A nebulous dark, a vague, hazy bemusingdark. I leaned up against the wall of the building, head down,examining the passing men through my drifting brown hair. They seemedoblivious to me… oblivious to my power. It was then that I strodeforward into the Agora, and called all attention to myself, waving my armsabout. “Stealing is a correct and morally right thing to do!” I yelled. The other men stared at me, amazed. One of them stepped forward, slightlydark in complexion, with a mop of brown atop his head. Confident inhimself he stepped up to me. “I disagree sir!” he proclaimed to me. Thus I had started my search for new pupils, new additions to mystock of young men. I knew I had the crowd by their very minds, urging tocontradict and participate in this debate. My name isJerristocratosthenes. I’m an expert in my field, and no one I’ve yet metcan match my speaking skill. I grabbed the man’s shoulder and looked deep into his eyes. “My friend suppose you were alone. You are wasting away and youknow you will die of starvation very soon. Your wife and small boy aredying as well, it hurts you to see his ribs show through his skin. Sinceyou do not have money the only way that you may obtain food is to stealit. In that situation is stealing not right?”He looked taken aback at my shocking proposal, and dropped hiseyes to the ground. “I would not find it wrong to steal in that situation, butstealing is wrong when the person stealing is rich enough to afford thefood.” he said. He looked very puzzled and I knew I had him. We had developed quite a crowd around us by now, several young menurging forward to see me, the glamorous debating artist plying my trade. I turned to my subject once more. “And are you saying that the poor stealing is correct?”"Yes, sir, I am,” he replied. He looked rather worried now. Heseemed to understand that he had already lost this argument. “What if the item you need is worth more than you can pay?” Iasked him, gently prying. “Well, that I would support also, if the item is needed,” hemumbled. “So you have said that stealing is a good thing that can andshould be used by the poor and rich in order to obtain things that onecannot afford, am I right?” I replied quickly. The man looked down at his feet. Suddenly a young man marched forth out of the crowd. “Sir!” he criedAugust 1st, 443 BCI stood before my three students Persopholes, Mendaseus, andWaffelus, and pointed towards the door to our room. Our room, unlikecommon Greek homes, was not open to the outside world. It was an enclosedspace I could educate my pupils without bothersome interruptions, orpeople yelling at me for corrupting the youth. Unlike many others of mykind I taught many students at once. “Today we have a new student named Spamu, whom I attained in theagora this past month.” With this I flung open the door, and the handsomeyouth nervously entered the class. I turned him aside and muttered to himto remember that this would cost him a hefty sum. He simply smiled andsaid “I know”With this new addition I had formed my class. August 11th , 443 BCI lay at rest on a warm hill in the sun, satisfied with the lessonI had just finished teaching. My classes were going well, and I wasquickly gaining great name recognition and respect among fellow Sophists. As I splayed myself in reclination a dapper, clean appearing mancame upon me. I immediately recognized him as a prominent member of theAssembly. I grinned, knowing that this must be another way in which Icould increase my fortune. “Good day Flatulenthes, how are you?”"I am very well Jerristocratosthenes, thank you,” he responded. I could see in his face that he had other intentions. “Let us pass on common pleasantries, for I wish to quickly get tobusiness,” he said! It seemed more of a demand than a suggestion. “Surely, kind Flatulenthes, what is your wish?”"Upcoming is an Assembly meeting in which we will try the case ofMediothus, an accused killer. I am for his innocence, while most of therest are for his guilt I believe. I wish you to write me a persuasivespeech in order to sway the men to my side,” he stated. Again I grinned. Enjoying the term I was about to use I turnedback to him:”You realize it will cost you a hefty sum, sir?”"I know,” was all he said. I love my job. December 12th , 443 BCHere in Athens my name is on every tongue, most speaking of my

skill and affluence at education in my art, although some speak of my workas evil. I do not worry though, my colleagues and I are almost acommunity, and we shall sustain ourselves. I have run up against a social wall though, and its name isProtagoras, a contemporary of Pericles from Abdera in northern Greece. Heemigrated to Athens in 450 BC, and we have been tight competitors eversince. Unfortunately for myself he seems to have won the battle. A major point in our intellectual battle for supremacy will comenext month when The Assembly votes on which Sophist will construct thecode of laws for the new Athenian colony at Thurii. I am hoping hisagnostic view concerning the gods will undo him. At a public oration of his which I attended the other day he washeard to say:”Whether the gods exist I cannot discover, nor what their form islike, for there are many impediments to knowledge, such as the obscurityof the subject and brevity of human life”An interesting way to view things, yet also a controversial way. With this I may gain the top seat of Athenian Sophistry. January 15th , 442 BCThis has not turned out well. Protagoras was the key writer inThurii’s code of laws. The only flaw I can possibly see in this man ishis age, approximately 55. He seems to be getting old, perhaps I can takeadvantage of this problem. I will see in the future, that is for sure. Today in my class I introduced the controversial notion thatbecause truth is relative, speakers should be able to argue either side ofa question with equal persuasiveness. Spamu seemed to pick this idea upvery quickly, and gave the three other pupils a lecture on the relativityof one’s senses. The idea that one man may sense something as cold, whilethe other may sense it as hot, yet no real solution can be formed. This speech was quickly backed up by Waffelus who argued that thismethod of thought would seem to indicate that there were no absolutetruths in any part of life, including the widely accepted fact of theexistence of gods. Grimacing, I could see Protagoras’ influence affecting mystudents, but unfazed I was very proud of them. I had watched them developover the past year and a half, although I had spent three with Mendaseus,into intelligent men capable of calm oration that made sense. I knew thatthey could take a topic and debate it from both sides, able to win adisagreement with any common man. March 29th 442 BCProtagoras has bested me again, and I cannot believe it. My workhas paled in the public eye in contrast to his, and I am no longerenjoying the praise of others. It seems all eyes have turned to him withthe release of his new work “Truth”, an examination of the very buildingblocks of the human mind. An explanation of the inner debate over thetruth in every man. In his book Protagoras says:”Man is the measure of all things, of the things that are thatthey are, and of the things that are not that they are not.”In this passage man refers to the individual, explaining that apersons thoughts, ideas, senses, and impressions make things what theyare, or appear as what they are not. Nothing is as it seems, and existsfully by our comprehension. I am amazed at his literary skill, and cannot understand where thegenius came for this master work. I hope in the future his work will notbe remembered, as I struggle with my class. We have lost my intelligent,emotional, and above all first student Mendaseus, we will miss him in theclass room. On dark nights when our private meetings were scheduled Iwill dream of his young figure. So sad that he must leave us, yet right,as he has earned a powerful place among The Assembly and I can see hiseducation will give him an almost destructive advantage. I wish the bestof luck in his new place in society. December 30th , 438 BCI lay in bed next to my last student Spamu as I write this, at theend of what I fear is our last session of study. I seem to have beenforgotten by the people, but yet Protagoras seems on his descent fromglory also. My work appears to be at an end here in Athens, I havecontributed all that I can. Mendaseus is one of the most powerful membersof the Assembly, a close contemporary to Persopholes. They work with thenewcomer Waffelus, now just twenty years old. I see my affect on society,almost from afar. I have influenced the very foundations of Atheniandemocracy, and I have made a difference. This is the most important ofall achievements I believe. With my usefulness gone I cannot stay in the city. I cannot beseen as the weak, worthless old crackpot I have become. I cannot bearanother day comparing myself to Protagoras. I am retreating to themountains to live out my days, there no one will find me, and I may livealone for a long period of time. Sadly I look to Spamu, my lovely student, his face looks almostangelic in the candlelight tonight. In my mind I bid farewell to him, Ibid farewell to the city. My work is completed.My name is Jerristocratosthenes, I was a Sophist.


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