One of the most prominent sophists in the 5th century BCE. He was particularly concerned with the role of rhetoric and persuasive speaking in political success. He went to great lengths to perfect his own abilities as well as to teach others to. He wrote many works during his lifetime, several of which stressed the importance of logos when delivering a speech.

Gorgias was born in Sicily. Thucydides wrote that Gorgias orginally came to Athens as a member of a council which sent him to ask the city to ally itself with Sicily during the Peloponnesian War. He travelled a great deal after the war, earning a considerable sum from his lectures. He died around 375 BCE, having lived for over 100 years, making more money than any other sophist.

His most notable philosophical contribution came from his work "On Nature". The three most important assertions he makes are:

A Socratic dialogue written by Plato. In it, Gorgias' fields of rhetoric and politics are discussed. It is a very lengthy examination similar to The Republic in its complexity.

Participants in the dialogue:

  1. Socrates
  2. Callicles
  3. Gorgias
  4. Polus
  5. Chaerephon
"I believe that I'm one of a few Athenians - so as not to say I'm the only one, but the only one among our contemporaries - to take up the true political craft and practice true politics. This is because the speeches I make on each occasion do not aim at gratification but at what's best ... And because I'm not willing to do those clever things you recommend, I won't know what to say in court."

Socrates to Callicles
Stephanus pp. 521 d-e