this is the occasion and reason of their slander of me, as you will find out either in this or in any future inquiry. I have said enough in my defence against the first class of my accusers; I turn to the second class, who are headed by meletus, that good and patriotic man, as he calls himself. And now I will try to defend myself against them: these new accusers must also have their affidavit read. What do they say? Something of this sort: - that Socrates is a doer of evil, and corrupter of the youth, and he does not believe in the gods of the state, and has other new divinities of his own. That is the sort of charge; and now let us examine the particular counts. He says that i am a doer of evil, who corrupt the youth; but I say, o men of Athens, that Meletus is a doer of evil, and the evil is that he makes a joke of a serious matter, and is too ready. And the truth of this I will endeavor to prove.
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So i departed, conceiving myself to moyes be superior to them for the same reason that I was superior to the politicians. At last I went to the artisans, for I was conscious that i knew nothing at all, as I may say, and I was sure that they knew many fine things; and in this I was not mistaken, for they did know many things. But i observed that even the good artisans fell into the same error as the poets; because they were good workmen they thought that they also knew all sorts of high matters, and this defect in them overshadowed their wisdom - therefore i asked myself. This investigation has led to my having many enemies of the worst and most dangerous kind, and has given occasion also to many calumnies, and i am called wise, for my hearers always imagine that I myself possess the wisdom which I find wanting. And so i go my way, obedient to the god, and make inquisition into the wisdom of anyone, whether citizen or stranger, who appears to be wise; and if he is not wise, then in vindication of the oracle i show him that. There is another thing: - young men of the richer classes, who have not much to do, come about me of their own accord; they like to hear the pretenders examined, and they often imitate me, and examine others themselves; there are plenty of persons. and then if somebody asks them, Why, what evil does he practise or teach? They do not know, and cannot tell; but in order that they may not appear to be at a loss, they repeat the ready-made charges which are used against all philosophers about teaching things up in the clouds and under the earth, and having. And this is the reason why my three accusers, meletus and Anytus and Lycon, have set upon me; Meletus, who has a quarrel with me on behalf of the poets; Anytus, on behalf of the craftsmen; Lycon, on behalf of the rhetoricians: and. And this, o men of Athens, is the truth and the whole truth; I have concealed nothing, i have dissembled nothing. And yet i know that this plainness of speech makes them hate me, and what is their hatred but a proof that i am speaking the truth?
for I must tell you the truth - the result of my mission was just this: I found that the men most in repute were all but the most foolish; and that some inferior men were really wiser and better. I will tell you the tale of my wanderings and of the "Herculean" labors, as I may call them, which i endured only to find at last the oracle irrefutable. When I left the politicians, i went to the poets; tragic, dithyrambic, and all sorts. And there, i said to myself, you will be detected; now you will find out that you are more ignorant than they are. Accordingly, i took them some of the most elaborate passages in their own writings, and asked what was the meaning of them - thinking that they would teach me something. Will you believe me? I am almost ashamed to speak of this, but still I must say that there is hardly a person present who would not have great talked better about their poetry than they did themselves. That showed me in an instant that not by wisdom do poets write poetry, but by a sort of genius and inspiration; they are like diviners or soothsayers who also say many fine things, but do not understand the meaning of them. And the poets appeared to me to be much in the same case; and I further observed that upon the strength of their poetry they believed themselves to be the wisest of men in other things in which they were not wise.
I neither know nor think that i know. In this latter particular, then, i seem to have slightly the advantage of him. Then I went to another, who had still higher philosophical pretensions, and report my conclusion was exactly the same. I made another enemy of him, and of many bill others besides him. After this I went to one man after another, being not unconscious of the enmity which I provoked, and I lamented and feared this: but necessity was laid upon me - the word of God, i thought, ought to be considered first. And I said to myself, go i must to all who appear to know, and find out the meaning of the oracle. And I swear to you, athenians, by the dog I swear!
And what is the interpretation of this riddle? For i know that I have no wisdom, small or great. What can he mean when he says that i am the wisest of men? And yet he is a god and cannot lie; that would be against his nature. After a long consideration, i at last thought of a method of trying the question. I reflected that if I could only find a man wiser than myself, then I might go to the god with a refutation in my hand. I should say to him, "Here is a man who is wiser than i am; but you said that I was the wisest." Accordingly i went to one who had the reputation of wisdom, and observed to him - his name i need not mention;. So i left him, saying to myself, as I went away: Well, although I do not suppose that either of us knows anything really beautiful and good, i am better off than he is - for he knows nothing, and thinks that he knows.
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If you ask me what kind of wisdom, i reply, such wisdom as is attainable by man, for to that extent i am inclined to believe that i am wise; whereas the wallpaper persons of whom I was speaking have a superhuman wisdom, which I may. And here, o men of Athens, i must beg you not to interrupt me, even if I seem to say something extravagant. For the word which I will speak is not mine. I will refer you to a witness who is worthy of credit, and will tell you about my wisdom - whether I have any, and of what sort - and that witness shall be the god of Delphi. You must have known Chaerephon; he was early a friend of mine, and also a friend of yours, for he shared in the exile of the people, and returned with you.
Well, Chaerephon, as you know, was very impetuous in all his doings, and he went to delphi and boldly asked the oracle to tell him whether - as I was saying, i must beg you not to interrupt - he asked the oracle to tell. Chaerephon is dead himself, but his brother, who is in court, will confirm the truth of this story. Why do i mention this? Because i am going to explain to you why i have such an evil name. When I heard the answer, i said to myself, What can the god mean?
There is actually a parian philosopher residing in Athens, of whom I have heard; and I came to hear of him in this way: - i met a man who has spent a world of money on the sophists, callias the son of Hipponicus, and. Is there anyone who understands human and political virtue? You must have thought about this as you have sons; is there anyone?" "There is he said. "Who is he?" said i, "and of what country? And what does he charge?" "Evenus the parian he replied; "he is the man, and his charge is five minae." Happy is evenus, i said to myself, if he really has this wisdom, and teaches at such a modest charge.
Had I the same, i should have been very proud and conceited; but the truth is that I have no knowledge of the kind. I dare say, athenians, that someone among you will reply, "Why is this, socrates, and what is the origin of these accusations of you: for there must have been something strange which you have been doing? All this great fame and talk about you would never have arisen if you had been like other men: tell us, then, why this is, as we should be sorry to judge hastily of you." Now I regard this as a fair challenge, and. Please to attend then. And although some of you may think i am joking, i declare that I will tell you the entire truth. Men of Athens, this reputation of mine has come of a certain sort of wisdom which I possess.
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But the simple truth is, o athenians, that I have nothing to do with these studies. Very many of those here present are witnesses thesis to the truth of this, and to them i appeal. Speak then, you who have heard me, and tell your neighbors whether any of you have ever known me hold forth in few words or in many upon matters of this sort. You hear their answer. And from what they say of this you will be able to judge of the truth of the rest. As little foundation is there for the report that i am a teacher, and take money; that is no more true than the other. Although, if a man is able to teach, i honor him for being paid. There is Gorgias of leontium, and Prodicus of ceos, and Hippias of Elis, who go the round of the cities, and are able to persuade the young men to leave their own citizens, by whom they might be taught for nothing, and come to them.
Well, then, i will make my defence, and I will endeavor in the short time which is allowed to do away with this evil opinion of me which you have held for such a long time; and I hope i may succeed, if this. But i know that to accomplish this is not easy - i quite see essay the nature of the task. Let the event be as God wills: in obedience to the law I make my defence. I will begin at the beginning, and ask what the accusation is which has given rise to this slander of me, and which has encouraged Meletus to proceed against. What do the slanderers say? They shall be my prosecutors, and I will sum up their words in an affidavit. "Socrates is an evil-doer, and a curious person, who searches into things under the earth and in heaven, and he makes the worse appear the better cause; and he teaches the aforesaid doctrines to others." That is the nature of the accusation, and that. I should be very sorry if Meletus could lay that to my charge.
would have you regard. Never mind the manner, which may or may not be good; but think only of the justice of my cause, and give heed to that: let the judge decide justly and the speaker speak truly. And first, i have to reply to the older charges and to my first accusers, and then I will go to the later ones. For I have had many accusers, who accused me of old, and their false charges have continued during many years; and i am more afraid of them than of Anytus and his associates, who are dangerous, too, in their own way. But far more dangerous are these, who began when you were children, and took possession of your minds with their falsehoods, telling of one socrates, a wise man, who speculated about the heaven above, and searched into the earth beneath, and made the worse appear. These are the accusers whom I dread; for they are the circulators of this rumor, and their hearers are too apt to fancy that speculators of this sort do not believe in the gods. And they are many, and their charges against me are of ancient date, and they made them in days when you were impressible - in childhood, or perhaps in youth - and the cause when heard went by default, for there was none to answer. And, hardest of all, their names I do not know and cannot tell; unless in the chance of a comic poet. But the main body of these slanderers who from envy and malice have wrought upon you - and there are some of them who are convinced themselves, and impart their convictions to others - all these, i say, are most difficult to deal with; for. I will ask you then to assume with me, as I was saying, that my opponents are of two kinds - one recent, the other ancient; and I hope that you will see the propriety of my answering the latter first, for these accusations you.
How you have felt, o men of Athens, at hearing the speeches of my accusers, i cannot tell; but i know that their persuasive words almost made me forget who i was - such was the effect of them; and yet they have hardly spoken. But many as their falsehoods were, there was one of them which quite amazed me; - i mean when they told you to be upon your guard, and not to let yourselves be deceived by the force of my eloquence. They ought to have been ashamed of saying this, because they were sure to be detected as soon as i opened my lips and displayed my deficiency; they certainly did appear to be most healthy shameless in saying this, unless by the force of eloquence they. But in how different a way from theirs! Well, as I was saying, they have hardly uttered a word, or not more than a word, of truth; but you shall hear from me the whole truth: not, however, delivered after their manner, in a set oration duly ornamented with words and phrases. But I shall use the words and arguments which occur to me at the moment; for i am certain that this is right, and that at my time of life i ought not to be appearing before you, o men of Athens, in the character. And I must beg of you to grant me one favor, which is this - if you hear me using the same words in my defence which I have been in the habit of using, and which most of you may have heard in the.
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