In this article, I would like to provide a reappraisal of sophistic activities during the Hellenistic period. An analysis of passages in Philodemus, Posidonius, and several more fragmentary sources can show that there is a continuous and lively tradition of sophistic teaching and rhetoric from the Classical period until Imperial times. The texts give the impression that characteristic features of Hellenistic sophists point towards the generation of Gorgias and his colleagues as well as towards the star speakers of the Second Sophistic. The traditional but outworn negative image of the Hellenistic sophists and Hellenistic rhetoric in general can be explained as a result of the source situation, the decentralisation of schools and performance spaces, and a Classicistic bias of ancient and modern authors. In the end, the testimonies allow for more conclusions than generally thought. A selection of related sources is provided in an appendix.

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