By mid-5th century BC, Athens was governed by democratic rule and power turned upon the ability of the citizen to command the attention of the people, and to sway the crowds of the assembly. It was the Sophists who understood the art of rhetoric and the importance of transforming effective reasoning into persuasive public speaking. Their enquiries - into the status of women, slavery, the distinction between Greeks and barbarians, the existence of the gods, the origins of religion, and whether virtue can be taught - laid the groundwork for the insights of the next generation of thinkers such as Plato and Aristotle.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.