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as written by 

bis friend and 

-pupil, Plato. 

Ridgewood, New "Jersey 



OF this book there were printed four hundred 
and seventy-five copies upon Van Gelder hand 
made paper and twenty-five upon an imperial 
Japan vellum, and the types then distributed. 


The FOREWORD to the 


MONG all the great char- 
alters of antiquity who have 
come down in history not 
one is more familiar to us 
today than the figure of Soc 
rates he of the fat body, 
the thick lips, the bulging 
eyes and upturned nose- Socrates the moralist, 
educator, philosopher the man who died for 
his principles - a martyr who died without hero 
ics, tragic or otherwise, but with serene calm. 
"We owe a cock to ^sculapius. Do not % fail 
to pay the debt." 

Socrates was the son of a sculptor whose pro 
fession, and not without success, he is said in 
the early years of his manhood to have followed. 
His mother was a midwife whose art he later, 
humorously, also professed to practice. He did 
not long however carve marble statues, but fol 
lowing his bent of ethical speculation, he turned 
himself loose upon his fellow man as a moralist 
& a teacher. He never after the manner of the 
professional philosophers of his day established 
a school nor did he undertake to teach or instruct 
in any formal or methodical manner he just 
met those who sought his wisdom and discussed 
with them matters of interest. He served as an 
hoplite in several campaigns. In his dress he 
was plain to an extreme - one set of clothing an 
swering for summer & winter - and as to foot 

The FOREWORD to the 

covering that he rejected altogether. 

His fortitude in bearing heat and cold was 
proverbial. Later in life he was a member of the 
senate of five hundred and there distinguished 
himself, in spite of personal danger, by his un 
wavering stand for what he felt was right. The 
little soul within him, his D^MON which spoke 
only to warn him of wrong, but never was 
heard when his actions were right, kept him on 
in the right way, and from the right way once 
seen no power could turn him. This sturdy 
making for right was his undoing; he would 
not, he could not, do the evil bidding of un 
scrupulous polititions. The enmity which he so 
aroused became one of the factors which made 
for his impeachment and trial. Another factor 
we can find in the untiring pursuit of the Soph 
ist. The philosophers and poets, or some of 
them, whom he had run down and convicted out 
of their own mouths of ignorance were also 
quite ready to undo this man whom they had 
much and just cause to fear. And so it came 
that in the seventieth year of his life he was im 
peached by an orator, a poet and a demagogue 
on a charge of corrupting the Athenian Youth, 
of denying the Gods which the state recogniz 
ed and seeking to supplant them by Gods of 
his own. On this charge Socrates appears before 
his judges to plead for his life, for that is de 
manded by his accusers as the penalty of his 


crime. His defence, his APOLOGIA or the APOL 
OGY as it is generally called, is the subjecl: of the 
little book which here follows. This book was 
written by Plato, his friend and pupil, who was 
present at the trial; but as it was not written until 
many years later, from the memories which he 
had carried away, it cannot well be taken as a 
literal report of what then took place; still, that 
in the main it is correct, may be taken with 
reasonable certainty. As a rule the Platonic writ 
ings, which are held in the dialogue form, make 
use of the mouth of Socrates for the Expression 
and development of Plato s own system of philo 
sophy, and are not at all, what they might 
appear to be, reports of conversations and dis 
cussions which actually took place. But in the 
Apology we find a true picture of Socrates the 
man, as his friend remembered him at his trial; 
his manner, his adions, his living ways and so 
through the few short pages of the Apology, the 
sympathetic character of Socrates moves in clear 
outline. The gentle Godliness of his soul, the 
purity of his purpose and unswerving directness 
for right, take warm hold of the reader s convic 
tions. The old man speaking to his judges, to 
all of whom he was known, never descends to 
beg for his life; with much humor even he ar 
gues with them. The cross examination of one 
of his accusers he develops according to the so- 
called Socratic Method. In this method it is that 

The FOREWORD to the 

he practices his mother s art, he delivers his labor 
ing subject of strange aborted contradictions, 
makes truth clear & his accusers, as well as their 
accusations, ridiculous. Having finished his re 
futation of the charges he addresses his judges 
on the subject of his service to the state. He 
does not defend himself for his own sake -no - his 
killing would be an injury to the state; all with 
a calm assurance through which a gentle breeze 
of humorous irony seems to flow - perhaps even 
a bit of condescension. He was however convict 
ed of the charges, though by a relatively small 
majority. After the conviction it was his right 
to speak on the punishment which should be 
meted out to him. This he suggests should 
be a nominal fine, though at the suggestion of 
Plato who was there present, he says he is will 
ing it should be larger. But the flippancy of his 
argument so aroused the feeling of the judges 
that he was condemned to death without much 
ado. The book now closes with a beautiful con 
sideration of the meaning of death. The book 
Krito follows Socrates to prison: Phaedo, with 
the discussion of immortality, follows him to 
the cup of hemlock. 

L. A. Z. 

July, 1901. 



e A P o i, o G Y of S o c R A T K s . 

KNOW not, O Athenians, how 
tar you have been influenced by 
my accusers: for my part, in 
listening to them I almost forgot 
myself, so plausible were their 
arguments: however, so to speak, 
they have said nothing true. But 
of the many falsehoods which 
they uttered I wondered at one 
of them especially, that in which 
they said that you ought to be on your guard 
lest you should be deceived by me, as being 
eloquent in speech. For that they are not 
ashamed of being forthwith convicted by me in 
fact, when I shall shew that I am not by any 
means eloquent, this seemed to me the most 
shameless thing in them, unless indeed they call 
him eloquent who speaks the truth. For, if they 
mean this, then I would allow that 1 am an or 
ator, but not after their fashion: for they, as I 
affirm, have said nothing true; but from me you 
shall hear the whole truth. Not indeed, Athen 
ians, arguments highly wrought, a%theirs were, 
with choice phrases and^expressions, nor adorn 
ed, but you shall hear a speech uttered without 
premeditation, in such words as first present 
themselves. For I am confident that what I say 
will be just, & let none of you expect otherwise: 
for surely it would not become my time of life 



to come before you like a youth with a got up 
speech. Above all things therefore I beg and 
implore this of you, O Athenians, if you hear 
me defending myself in the same language as 
that in which I am accustomed to speak both 
in the forum at the counters, where many of 
you have heard me, and elsewhere, not to be 
surprised or disturbed on this account. For the 
case is this: I now for the first time come before 
a court of justice, though more than seventy 
years old; I am therefore utterly a stranger to 
the language here. As, then, if I were really a 
stranger, you would have pardoned me if I 
spoke in the language and the manner in which 
1 had been educated, so now I ask this of you. 
as an act of justice, as it appears to me, to dis 
regard the manner of my speech, for perhaps it 
may be somewhat worse, and perhaps better, and 
to consider this only, and to give your attention 
to this, whether I speak what is just or not; for 
this is the virtue of a judge, but of an orator to 
speak the truth. 

THIRST then, O Athenians, I am right in 
defending myself against the first false ac 
cusations alleged against me, and my first 
accusers, and then against the latest accusations, 
and the latest accusers. For many have been 
accusers of me to you, and for many years, who 
have asserted nothing true, of whom I am more 


TV/ ^APOLOGY 0/" S o c R A T E s . 

afraid than of Anytus and his party, although 
they too are formidable; but those are still more 
formidable, Athenians, who laying hold of many 
of you from childhood, have persuaded you, and 
accused me of what is not true: - " that there is 
one Socrates, a wise man, who occupies himself 
about celestial matters, and has explored every 
thing under the earth, and makes the worse ap 
pear the better reason." Those, O Athenians, 
who have spread abroad this report are my for 
midable accusers: for they who ^arjb^m_think , 
that^such as search into these things donot be- / 
neve that there are gods. In the next place, these ( 
accusers are numerous, and have accused me / 
^ripw for_a long time; moreover they said these 
things to you at that time of life in which you : 
were most credulous, when you were boys and 
some of you youths, and they accused me alto- 
gether in my absence, when there was no one 
to defend me. But the most unreasonable thing 
of all is, that it is not possible to learn and 
mention their names, except that one of them 
happens to be a comic poet. Such, however, as 
influenced by envy and calumny have persuad 
ed you, and those who, being themselves 
persuaded, have persuaded others, all these are 
most difficult to deal with; for it is not possible 
to bring any of them forward here, nor to con 
fute any; but it is altogether necessary, to fight 
as it were with a shadow, in making my defence, 



and to convict when there is no one to answer. 

x Consider, therefore, as I have said, that my ac- 

) cusers are twofold, some who have lately accused 

j me, and others long since, whom I have made 

" mention of; and believe that I ought to defend 

myself against these first; for you heard them 

accusing me first, and much more than these 


Well. I must make my defence then, O 
Athenians, and endeavour in this so short a 
space of time to remove from your minds the 
calumny which you have long entertained. I 
wish, indeed, it might be so, if it were at all 
better both for you and me, and that in making 
my defence I could effect something more ad 
vantageous still: I think however that it will be 
difficult, and I am not entirely ignorant what 
the difficulty is. Nevertheless let this turn out 
as may be pleasing to God, I must obey the 
the law, and make my defence, f 

Let us then repeat from the beginning what 
the accusation is from which the calumny 
against me has arisen, and relying on which 

-$ Melitus_has preferred this indictment against 
*me. Well. What then do they who charge me 
say in their charge? For it is necessary to read 
their deposition as of public accusers. ^J^ocrattes 
acts wickedly, and is criminally, curious in 
searching into things under the earth, and in the 
heavens, arid in making the worse appear the 


Th ^APOLOGY of S o c R A T K s . 

Better cause, and in teaching these same things 
.to others." Such is the accusation: for such 
things you have yourselves seen in the comedy 
of Aristophanes, one Socrates there carried about, 
saying that he walks in the air, and acting many 
other buffooneries, of which I understand noth 
ing whatever. Nor do I say this as disparaging 
such a science, if there be any one skilled in 
such things, only let me not be prosecuted by 
Melitus on a charge of this kind; but 1 say it, 
O Athenians, because I have nothing to do with 
such matters. And I call upon most of you as 
witnesses of this, and require you to inform and 
tell each other, as many of you as have ever 
heard me conversing; and there are many such 
among you. Therefore tell each other, if any one 
one of you has ever heard me conversing little 
or much on such ^subj eels. And from this you 
will know that otlier things also^which the mul 
titude assert of me, r are of a similar nature. 

TLJowEVER not one of these things is true; nor, 
if you have heard from any one that I at 
tempt to teach men, and require payment, is this 
true. Though this indeed appears to me to be an 
honorable thing, if one should be able to instruct 
men, like Gorgias the Leontine, Prodicus the 
Cean, and Hippias the Elean. For each of these, 
O Athenians, is able, by going through the sev 
eral cities, to persuade the young men, who can 


attach themselves gratuitously to such of their 
own fellow citizens as they please, to abandon 
their fellow citizens and associate with them, 
giving them money and thanks besides. There 
is also another wise man here, a Parian, who J 
hear is staying in the city. For I happened to 
visit a person who spends more money on the 
sophists than all others together, I mean Callias, 
son of Hipponicus. I therefore asked him, for 
lie has two sons, " Callias," I said, " if your 
two sons were colts or calves, we should have 
had to choose a master for them and hire a per 
son who would make them excel in such qualities 
as belong to their nature: and he would have 
been a groom or an agricultural labourer. But now, 
since your sons are men, what master do you 
intend to choose for them? Who is there skilled 
in the qualities that become a man and a citizen ? 
For I suppose you must have considered this, 
since you have sons. Is there any one/ I said, 
" or not?" "Certainly," he answered. "Who is 
he?" said I, "and whence does he come? and 
on what terms does he teach?" He replied, 
"Evenus the Parian, Socrates, for five minae." 
And I deemed Evenus happy, if he really pos 
sesses this art, and teaches so admirably. And 
I too should think highly of myself and be very 
proud, if I possessed this knowledge; but I pos 
sess it not, O Athenians. \ 

Perhaps, one of you may now object: " But, 



Socrates, what have you done then ? Whena 
have these calumnies against you arisen ? For 
surely if you had not busied yourself more than 
others such a report and story would never havt 
got abroad, unless you had done something 
different from what most men do. Tell us, 
therefore, what it is, that we may not pass a hasty 
judgment on you." He who speaks thus ap 
pears to me to speak justly, and I will endeavoT 
to shew you what it is that has occasioned rm 
this character and imputation. Listen then: to 
sorne of you perhaps I shall appear to jest, yet 
be assured that I shall tell you the whole truth. 
For I, () Athenians, have acquired this character 
through nothing else than a certain^ wisdom. Of 
what kind, then, is this wisdom ? T^Perhaps it is 
merely human wisdom. For in this, iTTTflTth 1 
appear to be wise. They probably, whom I just 
now Rationed, possessed a wisdom more thai 
human, o>terwise I know not what to say about 
it ; for I am^ot acquainted with it, and whoso 
ever says 1 am, speaks falsely and for 
purpose of calumniating mej But, O Athenians, 
do not cry out against me, even though I shoulc 
seem to you to speak somewhat arrogantly . For 
the account which I am going to give you, is 
not my own, but I shall refer to an authority 
whom you will deem worthy of credit. For I 
shall adduce to you the god at Delphi as a wit 
ness of mv wisdom, if I have*any, and of wha: 


it is. v You doubtless know Chaerepho: he was 
my associate from youth, and the associate of 
most of you; he accompanied you in your late 
exile and returned with you. You know, then, 
what kind of a man Ch^erepho was, how. earnest 
in whatever he undertook. Having once gone 
to Delphi, he ventured to make the following 
inquiry of the oracle, (and, as I said, O Athen 
ians, do not cry out,) for he asked if there was 
any one wiser than me. The Pythian thereupon 
answered that there was not one wiser: and of 
this, his brother here will give you proofs, since 
he himself is dead. 

Consider then why I mention these things: 
it is because I am going to shew you whence the 
calumny against me arose. For when I heard 
this, I reasoned thus with myself, What does 
the god mean? What enigma is this? \ For I am 
not conscious to myself that I am wise, either 
much or little, f What then does he mean by 
saying that I am the wisest? For assuredly he 
does not speak falsely: that he cannot do. And 
for a long time, I was in doubt what he meant; 
afterwards with considerable difficulty I had re^ 
course to the following method of searching out 
his meaning. I went to one of those who have 
the character of being wise, thinking that there, 
if any where, I should confute the oracle, and 
shew in answer to the response that This man 
is. wiser than I,. though you affirmed that I was 



the wisest. Having then examined this man, 
(for there *is no occasion to mention his name, 
he was howQvetfi of our great politicians, in 
examining wrterri Kfelt as I proceed to describe, 

Athenians,) having fallen into conversation 
with him, this man appeared to me to be wise 
in the opinion of most other men, and especial 
ly in his own opinion, though in facl he was 
not so. I thereupon endeavoured to shew him 
that he fancied himself to be wise, but really 
was ; not. Hence I became odious both to him, 
and to many others who were present. When 

1 left him, I reasoned thus with myself,"! am 
wiser than this man, for neither of us appear to 
know anything great and good: but he fancies 
he knows something, although he knows noth 
ing, whereas I, as I do not know any thing, so 
I do not fancy I do. In this trifling particular, 
then, I appear to be wiser than him, because I 
do not fancy I know what I do not know.^After 
that I went to another who was thought to be 
wiser than the forme/, and formed the very same 
opinion. Hence I became odious to him and to 
many others. 

After this I went to others in turn, perceiving 
indeed and grieving and alarmed that I was 
making myself odious; however it appeared 
necessary to regard the oracle of the god as of 
the greatest moment, and that in order to dis 
cover its meaning, I mugo to all who had the 



reputation of possessing any knowledge. And by 
the dog, O Athenians, for I must tell you the 
cruth, I came to some such conclusion as this: 
w hose who bore the highest reputation appeared 
ro me to be most deficient, in my researches in 
obedience to the god, and others who were 
considered inferior, more nearly approaching to 
rhe possession of understanding. But I must re 
late to you my wandering, & the labours which J 
underwent, in order that the oracle might prove 
incontrovertible./For after the politicians I went 
to the poets as well the tragic as the dithyrambic 
and others, expecting that here I should in very 
tact find myself more ignorant than them. - Tak- 
ng up, therefore, some of their poems, which 
appeared to me most elaborately finished, I ques 
tioned them as to their meaning, that at the same 
rime I might learn something from them. 1 am 
ashamed, O Athenians, to tell you the truth; 
liowever it must be told. For, in a word, almost 
all who were present could have given a better 
account of them than those by whom they had 
been composed. I soon discovered this, therefore, 
with regard to the poets, that they do not effect 
their object by wisdom, but by a certain natural 
inspiration and under the influence of enthusi 
asm like prophets and seers; for these also say 
many fine things, but the|r understand nothing 
that they say. The P^fs appeared to me to be 
affected in a similar jrfT^Beri^ftd at the same time 


I perceived that they considered themselves, on 
account of their poetry, to be the wisest of men 
in other things, in which they were not. I left 
them, therefore, under the persuasion that I was 
superior to them, in the same way that I was to 
the politicians. 

At last, therefore, I went to the artizans. For 
I was conscious to myself that I knew scarcely 
any thing, but I was sure that I should find 
them possessed of much beautiful knowledge. 
And in this I was not deceived; for they knew 
things which I did not, and in this respedl they 
were wiser than me. But, O Athenians, even the 
best workmen appeared to me to have fallen in 
to the same error as the poets: for each, because 
he excelled in the pradice of his art, thought 
that he was very wise in other most important 
matters, and this mistake of theirs obscured the 
wisdom that they really possessed. I therefore 
asked myself in behalf of the oracle, whether I 
should prefer to continue as I am, possessing 
none either of their wisdom or their ignorance, 
or to have both as they have. I answered, there 
fore, to myself and to the oracle, that it was 
better for me to continue as I am. 

From this investigation, then, O Athenians, 
many enmities have arisen against me, and those 
the most grievous and severe, so that many cal 
umnies have sprung from them and amongst 
them this appellation of being wise. For those 


who are from time to time present think that 1 
am wise in those things, with respect to which 
I expose the ignorance of others. The god how- 
/ ever, O Athenians, appears to be really wise, 
and to mean this by his oracle, that human wis 
dom is worth little or nothing; and it is clear - 
that he did not say this of Socrates, but made 
use of my name, putting me forward as an ex 
ample, as if he had said, that man is the wisest 
among you, who, like Socrates, knows that he 
is in reality worth nothing with respect to wis 
dom. Still therefore 1 go about and search and 
inquire into these things, in obedience to the 
god, both among citizens & strangers, if I think 
any one of them is wise; and when he appears 
to me not to be so, I take the part of the god, 
and shew that he is not wise. And in consequence 
of this occupation I have no leisure to attend in 
any considerable degree to the affairs of the state 
or my own; but I am in the greatest poverty 
^^ through my devotion to the service of the god.) 
IT In addition to this, young men, who have 
much leisure and belong to the wealthiest fam 
ilies, following me. of their own accord, take 
great delight in hearing men put to the test, and 
often imitate me, and themselves attempt to put 
others to the test: and then, I think, they find 
a great abundance of men who fancy they know 
something, although they know little or nothing. 
Hence those who are put to the test by them are 


angry with me, and not with theni^na say that 
u there is one Socrates, a most pestilent fellow, 
who corrupts the youth." And when any one 
asks them by doing or teaching what, they have 
nothing to say, for they do not know: but that 
they may not seem to be at a loss, they say such 
things as are ready at hand against all philoso 
phers; " that he searches into things in heaven 
and things under the earth, that he does not be 
lieve there are gods, & that he makes the worse 
appear the better reasoji." For they would not, 
I think, be willing to tell the truth, that they 
have been detected in pretending to possess 
knowledge, whereas they know nothing. There 
fore, I think, being ambitious & vehement and 
numerous, and speaking systematically and per 
suasively about me, they have filled your ears, 
for a long time and diligently.calumniating me. 
From amongst these, Melitus, Anytus, and 
Lycon, have attacked me; Melitus being angry 
on account of the poets, Anytus on account of 
the artizans and politicians, and Lycon on ac 
count of the rhetoricians. So that as I said in 
the beginning, I should wonder if I were able 
in so short a time to remove from your minds 
a calumny that has prevailed so long. This, O 
Athenians, is the truth; and I speak it without 
concealing or disguising anything from you, 
much or little; though I very well know that 
by so doing 1 shall expose myself to odium. 



This however is a proof that I speak the truth, 
and that this is the nature of the calumny against 
me, and that these are its causes. And if you 
will investigate the matter, either now or here 
after, you will find it to be so. / 

Y\/TTH resped then to the charges which 
my first accusers have alleged against me, 
let this be a sufficient apology to you. To 
Melitus, that good and patriotic man, as he says, 
and to my later accusers, I will next endeavor 
to give an answer; and here again, as there are 
different accusers let us take up their deposition. 
It is pretty mudi as follows: "Socrates," it says, 
"acls unjustly in corrupting the youth, and in 
not believing in those gods in whom the city 
believes, but in other strange divinities." Such 
is the accusation; let us examine each particular 
of it. It says that I ad unjustly in corrupting 
the youth. But I, O Athenians, say that Melitus 
acls unjustly, because he jests on serious sub- 
jecls, rashly putting men upon trial, under 
pretence of being zealous and solicitous about 
things in which he never at any time took any 
concern. But that this is the case I will endeav 
or to prove to you. 

Come then, Melitus, tell me; do you not 
consider it of the greatest importance that the 
youth should be made as virtuous as possible? 
Melitus. I do. 


Th e APOLOGY of S o c R A r E s . 

Socrates. Well now, tell the judges who it is 

that makes them better, for it is evident that 

you know, since it concerns you so much: for, 

having detected me in corrupting them, as you 

say, you have cited me here and accused me; 

come then, say, and inform the judges who it is 

that makes them better. Do you see, Melitus, 

that you are silent, and have nqthing to say? But 

does it not appear tp you to be disgrace/ul and 

z sufficient proof of what I say, that you never 

took any concern about the matter? But tell me, 

friend, who makes them better? 

Melitus. The laws. 

Socrates. I do not ask this, most excellent sir, 

but what man, who surely must first know this 

very thing, the laws? 

Melitus. These, Socrates, the judges. 

Socrates. How say you, Melitus? Are these 

able to instruct the youth, & make them better? 

Melitus. Certainly. 

Socrates. Whether all, or some of them, and 

others not? 

Meiitus. All. 

Socrates. You say well, by Juno, and have 

found a great abundance of those that confer 

benefit. But what further? Can these hearers 

make them better, or not? 

Melitus. They too can. 

Socrates. And what of the senators? 

Melitus. The senators also. 


Socrates. But, Melitus, do those who attend 
the public assemblies corrupt the younger men? 
or do they all make them better? 
Melitus. They too. 

Socrates. All the Athenians therefore, as it 
seems, make them honourable and good, except 
me, but 1 alone corrupt them. Do you say so? 
Melitus. I do assert this very thing. 
Socrates. You charge me with great ill-fortune. 
But answer me: does it appear to you to be the 
same with respecl: to horses? do all men make 
them better, and is there only some one that 
spoils them? or does quite the contrary of this 
take place?,, is there some one person who can 
make them better, or very few, that is the train 
ers? but if the generality of men should meddle 
with and make use of horses, do they spoil them? 
Is not this the case, Melitus, both with resped 
co horses and all other animals? It certainly is 
so, whether you and Anytus deny it or not. 
For it would be a great good-fortune for the 
youth if only one person corrupted, and the rest 
benefited them. However, Melitus, you have 
sufficiently shewn that you never bestowed any 
care upon youth; and you clearly evince your 
own negligence, in that you have never paid any 
attention to the things with respecl: to which you 
accuse me. 

Tell us further, Melitus, in the name of Jup 
iter, whether is it better to dwell with good or 



bad citizens? Answer, my friend: for I ask you 

nothing difficult. Do not the bad work some 

evil to those that are continually near them, but 

the good some good? 

Melitus. Certainly. 

Socrates. Is there any one that wishes to be 

injured rather than benefited by his associates? 

Answer, good man: for the law requires you to 

answer. Is there any one who wishes to be in 


Melitus. No, surely. 

Socrates. Come then, whether do you accuse 

me here, as one that corrupts the youth, and 

makes them more depraved, designedly or un- 


Melitus. Designedly, I say. 

Socrates. What then, Melitus, are you at your 

time of life so much wiser than me at my time 

of life, as to know that the evil are always work 

ing some evil to those -that are most near to 

them, and the good some good; but I have ar 

rived at such a pitch of ignorance as not to know, 

that if I make any one of my associates deprav 

ed, I shall be in danger of receiving some evil 

from him, and yet I designedly bring about this 

so great evil, as you say? In this I cannot be 

lieve you, Melitus, nor do I think would any 

other man in the world: but either I do not cor 

rupt the youth, or if I do corrupt them, I do 

it undesignedly: so that in both cases you speak 



falsely. But if I corrupt them undisignedly, for 
such involuntary offences it is not usual to ac 
cuse one here, but to take one apart and teach 
and admonish one. For it is evident that it I am 
taught, I shall cease doing what I do undesign- 
edly. But you shunned me, and were not willing 
to associate with and instruct me, but you accuse 
me here, where it is usual to accuse those who 
need punishment and not instruction. 

" HUS, then, O Athenians, this now is clear 
that I have said, that Melitus never paid 
any attention to these matters, much or little. 
However tell us, Melitus, how you say I cor 
rupt the youth? Is it not evidently, according 
to the indictment which you have preferred, by 
teaching them not to believe in the gods in 
whom the city believes, but in other strange 
deities? Do you not say that by teaching these 
things, I corrupt the youth? 
Melitus. Certainly I do say so. 
Socrates. By those very gods, therefore, Mel 
itus, of whom the discussion now is, speak still 
more clearly both to me and to these men. For 
I cannot understand whether you say that I 
teach them to believe that there are certain gods, 
[and in that case I do believe that there are 
gods, and am not altogether an atheist, nor in 
this respedt to blame,] not however those which 
the city believes in, but others, and this it is 



that you accuse me of, that I introduce others; 
or do you say outright that I do not myself be 
lieve that there are gods, & that 1 teach others 
the same? 

Melitus. I say this, that you do not believe 
in any gods at all. 

Socrates. O wonderful Melitus, how come you 
to say this? Do I not then like the rest of man 
kind, believe that the sun and moon are gods? 
Melitus. No, by Jupiter, O judges: for he 
says that the sun is a stone, and the moon an 

Socrates. You fancy that you are accusing 
Anaxagoras, my dear Melitus, and thus you put 
a slight on these men, and suppose them to be 
so illiterate, as not to know that the books of 
Anaxagoras of Clazomene are full of such asser 
tions. And the young, moreover, learn these 
things from me, which they might purchase for 
a drachma, at most, in the orchestra, and so 
ridicule Socrates, if he pretended they were his 
own, especially since they are so absurd? I ask 
then, by Jupiter, do I appear to you to believe 
that there is no god? 

Melitus. No, by Jupiter, none whatever. 
Socrates. You say what is incredible, Melitus, 
and that, as appears to me, even to yourself. 
For this man, O Athenians, appears to me to 
be very insolent and intemperate, and to have 
preferred this indictment through downright 



insolence, intemperance and wantonness. For 
he seems, as it were, to have composed an enig 
ma for the purpose of making an experiment. 
Whether will Socrates the wise know that I am 
jesting, and contradict myself, or shall I deceive 
him and all who hear me?, For in my opinion 
he clearly contradicts himself in the indictment, 
as if he should say, Socrates is guilty of wrong 
in not believing that there are gods, and in be 
lieving that there are gods. And this, surely, is 
the ad: cf one who is trifling. 

Consider with me now, Athenians, in what 
respedt he appears to me to say so. And do you, 
Melitus, answer me; and do ye, as I besought 
you at the outset, remember not to make an 
uproar if I speak after my usual manner. 

Is there any man, Melitus, who believes that 
there are human affairs, but does not believe 
that there are men? Let him answer, judges, 
and not make so much noise. Is there any one 
who does not believe that there are horses, but 
that there are things pertaining to horses? or who 
does not believe that there are pipers, but that 
there are things pertaining to pipes? There is 
not, O best of men: for since you are not will 
ing to answer, I say it to you and to all 
present. But answer to this at least: is there any 
one who believes that there are things relating 
to demons, but does not believe that there are 



Melitus. There is not. 

Socrates. How obliging you are in having 
hardly answered, though compelled by these 
judges. You assert then that 1 do believe and 
teach things relating to demons, whether they 
be new or old; therefore, according to your ad 
mission, I do believe in things relating to 
demons, and this you have sworn in the bill of 
indictment. If then I believe in things relating 
to demons, there is surely an absolute necessity 
that I should believe that there are demons. Is 
it not sop It is. For I suppose you to assent, 
since you do not answer. But with respecl to 
demons, do we not allow that they are gods, or 
the children of gods? Do you admit this or not? 
Melitus. Certainly. 

Socrates. Since then I allow that there are de 
mons as you admit, if demons are a kind of 
gods, this is the point in which I say you speak 
enigmatically and divert yourself in saying that 
I do not allow there are gods, and again that I 
do allow there are, since I allow that there are 
demons? But if demons are the children of gods, 
spurious ones, either from nymphs or any 
others, of whom they are reported to be, what 
man can think that there are sons of gods, and 
yet that there are not gods? For it would be 
just as absurd, as if any one should think that 
there are mules the offspring of horses & asses, 
but should not think that there are horses and 


asses. However, Melitus, it Cannot he other 
wise than that you have preferred this indict- 
ment for the purpose of trying me, or because 
you were at a loss what real crime to allege 
against rrie: for that you should persuade any 
man who has the smallest degree of sense, that 
the same person can think that there are things 
relating to demons and to gods, and yet that 
there are neither demons, nor gods, nor heroes, 
is utterly impossible. 

., That I am not guilty then, O Athenians, ac 
cording to the indictment of Melitus, appears 
to me not to require a lengthened defence; but 
what I have said is sufficient. And as to what 
I said at the beginning, that there is a great en 
mity towards me among the multitude, be 
assured it is true. And this it is which will con 
demn me, if 1 am condemned, not Melitus, 
nor Anytus, but the calumny and envy of 
the multitude, which have already condemned 
many others, and those good men, and will 
I think condemn others also; for there is no 
danger that it will stop with me, 

Perhaps, however, some one may say, "Are 
you not ashamed, Socrates, to have pursued a 
study, from which you are now in danger of 
dying?" To such a person I should answer with 
good reason: you do not say well, friend, if you 
think that a man, who is even of the least value, 
ought to take into the account the risk of life 


or death, and ought not to consider that alone 
when he performs any adion, whether he is 
ading justly or unjustly, and the part of a good 
man or bad man. For according to your reason 
ing, all those demi-gods that d^ed-at Troy 
would be vile characters, as well all the rest as 
the son of Thetis, who so far despised danger 
in comparison of submitting to disgrace, that 
when his mother, who was a goddess, spoke to 
him, in his impatience to kill Hedor, something 
to this effed, as I think, "My son, if you re 
venge the death t>f your friend Patroclus, and 
slay Hedor, you will yourself die, for," she 
said, "death awaits you immediately after Hec 
tor." But he, on hearing this, despised death 
and danger, and dreading much more to live as 
a coward, & not avenge his friends said; "May 
I die immediately, when I have inflicted pun 
ishment on the guilty, that I may not stay here 
an objed of ridicule, by the curved ships, a 
burden to the ground." Do you think that 
he cared for death and danger? For thus it 
is, O Athenians, in truth; wherever any one 
has posted himself, either thinking it to be bet 
ter, or has been posted by his chief, there, as it 
appears to me, he ought to remain and meet 
danger taking no account either of death or any 
hing else in comparison with disgrace. 

I then should be acting strangely, O Athen 
ians, if, when the generals whom you chose to 



command me assigned me my post at Potidaea, 
at Amphipolis, and at Delium, I theh remained 
where they posted me, like any other person, 
and encountered the danger of death, but when 
the deity as I thought and believed, assigned it 
as my duty to pass my life in the study of , 
philosophy, and in examining myself & others, 
I should on that occasion, through fear of death 
or any thing else whatsoever, desert my post. 
Strange indeed would it be, and then in truth 
any one might justly bring me to trial, and ac 
cuse me of not believing in the gods, from dis 
obeying the oracle, fearing death, and thinking 
myself to be wise when I am not. For to fear 
death, O Athenians, is nothing else than to ap 
pear to be wise, without being so; for it is to 
appear to know what one does not know. For 
/ no one knows but that death is the greatest of 
I all goods to man; but men fear it, as if they well , 
knew that it is the greatest of evils. And how 
is not this the most reprehensible ignorance, to 
think that one knows what one does not know? 
But I, O Athenians, in this perhaps differ from 
most men; and if I should say that I am in any 
thing wiser than another, it would be in this, 
that not having a competent knowledge of the 
things in Hades, I also think that I have not 
such knowledge. But to act unjustly, and to 
disobey my superior, whether God or man, I 
know is evil and base. I shall never, therefore, 


7 h e A P o L o G Y of SOCRATES. 

fear or shun things which, for aught I know, 
may be good, before evils which I know to be 
evils. So that even if you should now dismiss 
me, not yielding to the instances of Anytus, 
who said that either I should not appear here 
at all, or that, if I did appear, it was impossible 
,iot to put me to death, telling you that if 1 es 
caped, your sons, studying what Socrates teach 
es, would all be utterly corrupted; if you should 
address me thus, "Socrates, we shall not now 
yield to Anytus, but dismiss you, on this con 
dition however, that you no longer persevere 
in your researches nor study philosophy, and if 
hereafter you are detected in so doing, you shall 
die,"-if, as I said, you should dismiss me on 
these terms, I shall say to you: "O Athenians, 
I honour and love you: but I shall obey God 
rather than you; and as long as I breathe and 
am able, I shall not cease studying philosophy, 
and exhorting you & warning any one of you J 
may happen to meet, saying as I have been ac 
customed to do: *O best of men, seeing you are 
an Athenian, of a city the most powerful & most 
icnowned for wisdom and strength, are you not 
aj hamed of being careful for riches, how you 
n ay acquire them in greatest abundance, and 
ft r glory & honour, but care not nor take any 
thought for wisdpm and truth, and for your 
soul, how it may be made most perfect? " And 
if any one of you should question my assertion, 



and affirm that he does care for these things, I 
shall not at once let him go, nor depart, but I 
shall question him, sift and prove him. And if 
he should appear to me not to possess virtue, 
but to pretend he does, I shall reproach him 
for that he sets the least value on things of the , 
greatest worth, but the highest on things that 
are worthless. Thus I shall act to all whom I 
meet, both young and old, stranger and citizen, 
but rather to you my fellow citizens, because 
ye are more nearly allied to me. For be well 
assured, this the deity commands. And 1 think 
that no greater good has ever befallen you in 
the city, than my zeal for the service of the god. 
For I go about doing nothing else than per 
suading you, both young & old, to take no care 
either for the body, or for riches, prior to or so 
much as for the soul, how it may be made most 
perfect, telling you that virtue does not spring 
from riches but riches and all other human bless 
ings, both private and public, from virtue. / If, 
then, by saying these things, I corrupt the 
youth, these things must be mischievous; but if 
any one says that I speak other things than 
these, he misleads you. Therefore I must say, 
O Athenians, either yield to Anytus or do not, 
either dismiss me or not, since I shall not act 
otherwise, even though I must die many deaths. 


JV/TURMUR no^, O Athenians, but con 
tinue to attend to my request, not to 
murmur at what I say, but to listen, for as I 
think, you will derive benefit from listening. 
For I am going to say other things to you, at 
which perhaps you will raise a clamour; but on 
no account do so. Be well assured, then, if you 
put me to death, being such a man as I say 1 
am, you will not injure me more than yourselves. 
For neither will Melitus* nor. Anytus harm me; 
nor have they the power: for I do not think 
chat it is possible for a better man to be injured 
by a worse. He may perhaps have me condemn 
ed to death, or banished or deprived of civil 
rights; and he or others may perhaps consider 
these as mighty evils: I however do not consider 
them so, but that it is much more so to do what 
he is now doing, to endeavour to put a man to 
death unjustly. Now, therefore, O Athenians, 
I am far from making a defence on my own be 
half, as any one might think, but I do so on 
your behalf, lest by condemning me you should 
offend at all with respect to the gift of the deity 
to you. For, if you should put me to death, 
you will not easily find such another, though it 
may be ridiculous to say so, altogether attached 
by the deity to this city as to a powerful and 
generous horse, somewhat sluggish from his size, 
and requiring to be roused by a gad-fly; so the 
deity appears to have united me, being such a 



person as I am, to the city, that I may rouse 
you, and persuade & reprove every one of you, 
nor ever cease besetting you throughout the 
wholq day. Such another man, O Athenians, 
will not easily be found, therefore, if you will 
take my advice, you will spare me. But you, 
perhaps, being irritated, like drowsy persons 
who are roused from sleep, will strike me, and, 
yielding to Anytus, will unthinkingly condemn 
me to death; and then you will pass the rest of 
your life in sleep, unless the deity, caring for 
you, should send some one else to you. (T$ut 
that I am a person who has been given by the 
deity to this city, you may discern from hence; 
for it is not like the ordinary conduct of men, 
that 1 should have neglected all my own affairs 
and suffered my private interest to be neglected 
for so many years, and that I should constantly 
attend to your concerns, addressing myself to 
each of you separately, like a father, or elder 
brother, persuading you to the pursuit of virtue. 
And if I had derived any profit from this 
course, & had received pay for my exhortations, 
there would have been some reason for my con- 
duel; but now you see yourselves, that my ac 
cusers, who have so shamelessly calumniated me 
in everything else, have not had the impudence 
to charge me with this, and to bring witnesses 
to prove that I ever either exacted or demanded 
any reward. And I think I produce a sufficient 

Th ^APOLOGY 0/~ S o c R A T E s . 

proof that 1 speak the truth, namely, my pover 

Perhaps, however, it may appear absurd, that 

I, going about, thus advise you in private and 
make myself busy, but never venture to pre 
sent myself in public before your assemblies 
and give advice to the city. The cause of this 
is that which you have often & in many places 
heard me mention: because ^J_3PQ moved by a 
certain divine and spiritual influence, which also 
IvTeTitus, through mockery, has set out in the 
indictment. This began with me from child 
hood, being a kind of voice which, when pre 
sent, always diverts me from what I am about 
to do, but never urges me on. This it is which 
opposed my meddling in public politics; and it 
appears to me to have opposed me very proper 
ly. For be well assured, () Athenians, if I had 
long since attempted to intermeddle with poli 
tics, I should have perished long ago, and 
should not have at all benefitted you or myself. 
And be not angry with me for speaking the 
truth. For it is not possible that any man should 
be safe, who sincerely opposes either you, or 
any other multitude, and who prevents many 
unjust and illegal actions from being committed 
in a city; but it is necessary that he who in 
earnest contends for justice, if he will be safe for 
but a short time, should live privately, and take 
no part in public affairs. 



1 will give you strong proofs of this, not 
words, but, what you value, facts. Hear then what 
has happened to me, that you may know that I 
would not yield to any one contrary to what is 
just, through fear of death, at the same time 
that, by not yielding, I must perish. I shall tell 
you what will be displeasing and wearisome, yet 
true. For I, O Athenians, never bore any other 
magisterial office in this city, but have been a 
senator: and our Antiochean tribe happened to 
supply the Prytanes when you chose to con-**^ 
demn in a body the ten generals, who had not 
taken off those that perished in the sea-fight, in 
violation of the law, as you afterwards all 
thought/ At that time I alone of the Prytanes 
opposed your doing any thing contrary to the 
laws, and I voted against you; and when the 
orators were ready to denounce me, & to carry 
me before a magistrate, and you urged and 
cheered them on, I thought I ought rather to 
meet the danger with law and justice on my 
side, than through fear of imprisonment or death 
to take part with you in your unjust designs. 
And this happened while the city was governed 
by a democracy. But when it became an olig 
archy the Thirty, having sent for me with four 
others to the Tholus, ordered us to bring Leon 
the Salaminian from Salamis, that he might be 
put to death; and they gave many similar orders 
to many others, wishing to involve as many as 



they could in guilt. Then however, I shewed, 
not in word hut in deed, that I did not care tor 
death, if the expression be not too rude, in the 
smallest degree, but that all my care was to do 
nothing unjust or unholy. For that govern 
ment, strong as it was, did not so overawe me 
as to make me commit an unjust action; but 
when we came out from the Tholus, the four 
went to Salamis, and brought back Leon; but I 
went away home. And perhaps for this 1 should 
have been put to death, if that government had 
not been speedily broken up. And of this you 
can have many witnesses. 

B Do you think, then, that 1 should have sur 
vived so many years, if I had engaged in public 
affairs, and, adting as becomes a good man, had 
aided the cause of justice, and, as I ought, had 
deemed this of the highest importance? Far 
frojTi it, O Athenians: nor would any other man 
have done so. But I, through the whole of my 
life, if I have done anything in public, shall be 
found to be a man, & the very same in private, 
who has never made a concession to any one 
contrary to justice, neither to any other, nor to 
any one of these whom my calumniators say 
are my disciples. I however was never the pre 
ceptor of any one; but if any one desired to hear 
me speaking and to see me busied about my 
own mission, whether he were young or old, I 
never refused him. Nor do I discourse when I 


receive money, and not when I do not receive 
any, but I allow both rich and poor alike to 
question me, and, if any one wishes it, to ans 
wer me and hear what I have to say. And for 
these, whether any one proves to be a good man 
or not, I cannot justly be responsible, because 
I never either promised them any instructions 
or taught them at all. But if any one says that 
he has ever learnt or heard any thing from me 
in private, which all others have not, be well 
assured that he does not speak the truth. 

But why do some delight to spend so long a 
/time with me? Ye have heard, O Athenians. 
I have told you the whole truth, that they de 
light to hear those closely questioned who 
think that they are wise but are not: for this is 
by no means disagreeable. But this duty, as 1 
say, has been enjoined me by the deity, by ora 
cles, by dreams, & by every mode by which any 
other divine decree has ever enjoined any thing 
to man to do. These things, O Athenians, are 
both true, and easily confuted if not true. For 
if 1 am now corrupting some of the youths, and 
have already corrupted others, it were fitting, 
surely, that if any of them, having become ad 
vanced in life, had discovered that 1 gave them 
bad advice when they were young, they should 
now rise up against me, accuse me, and have me 
punished; or if they were themselves unwilling 
to do this, some of their kindred, their fathers, 


or brothers, or other relatives, if their kinsmen 
have ever sustained any damage from me, should 
now call it to mind. Many of them however 
are here present, whom I see: first, Crito, my 
contemporary and fellow-burgher, father of this 
Critobulus; then, Lysanias of Sphettus, father 
of this ^schines; again, Antiphon of Cephisus, 
father of Epigenes; there are those others too, ^x 
whose brothers maintained the same intimacy 
with me, namely, Nicostratus, son of Theos- 
dotidus, brother of Theodotus Theodotus in 
deed is dead, so that he could not deprecate 
his brother s proceedings, and Paralus here, son 
of Demodocus, whose brother was Theages; 
and Adimantus son of Ariston, whose brother ./:. 

~-^L^ * MF--^-^*~/-*~- 

is this^aPlato; and .^Eantodorus, whose brother -f J^ 

is trujTApollodorus. I could also mention many 

others to you, some one of whom certainly Meli- _~/5, 

tus ought to have adduced in his speech as a^ 

witness. If how ever he then forgot to do so, let 

him now adduce them, I give him leave to do 

so, and let him say it, if he has any thing of the 

kind to allege. But quite contrary to this, you 

will find, O Athenians, all ready to assist me, 

who have corrupted and injured their relatives, 

as Melitus & Anytus say. For those who have 

been themselves corrupted might perhaps have 

some reason for assisting me; but those who 

have not been corrupted, men now advanced in 

life, their relatives, what other reason can they 



have for assisting me, except that right and just 
one, that they know that Melitus speaks falsely, 
and that I speak the truth. 

then, Athenians; these are pretty 
much the things I have to say in my de 
fence, and others perhaps -of the same kind. 
Perhaps, however, some among you will be in 
dignant on recollecting his own case, if he, when 
engaged in a cause far less than this, implored 
and besought the judges with many tears, 
bringing forward his children in order that he 
might excite their utmost compassion, and many 
others of his relatives and friends, whereas I do 
none of these things, although I may appear to 
be incurring the extremity of danger. Perhaps, 
therefore, some one, taking notice of this, may 
become more determined against me, and, being 
enraged at this very conduct of mine, may give 
his vote under the influence of anger/ If then 
any one of you is thus affected, I do not 
however suppose that there is, but if there 
should be, I think I may reasonably say to him; 
" I too, O best of men, have relatives; for to 
make use of that saying of Homer, I am not 
sprung from an oak, nor from a rock, but from 
men/ so that I too, O Athenians, have relatives, 
and three sons, one now grown up, & two boys: 
I shall not however bring any one of them for 
ward and implore you to acquit me.^Why then 



shall 1 not do thisP Not from contumacy, O 
Athenians, nor disrespect towards you. Whether 
or not I am undaunted at the prosped: of death, 
is another question, but out of regard to my 
own character, and yours, and that of the whole 
city, it does not appear to me to be honourable 
that I should do any thing of this kind at my 
age, & with the reputation I have, whether true 
or false. For it is commonly agreed that Socrates 
in some respects excels the generality of men. 
If, then, those among you who appear to excel 
either in wisdom, or fortitude, or any other vir 
tue whatsoever, should aft in such a manner as 
I have often seen some when they have been 
brought to trial, it would be shameful, who ap 
pearing indeed to be something, have conducted 
themselves in a surprising manner, as thinking 
they should suffer something dreadful by dying, 
and as if they would be immortal if you did 
not put them to death. Such men appear to me 
to bring disgrace on the city, so that any stran 
ger might suppose that such of the Athenians as 
excel in virtue, and whom they themselves 
choose in preference to themselves for magis- 
tracies and other honours, are in no respect 
superior to women. For these things, O Athen 
ians, neither ought we to do who have attained 
to any height of reputation, nor, should we do 
them, ought you to suffer us; but you should 
make this manifest, that you will much rather 



condemn him who introduces these piteous 
dramas, and makes the city ridiculous, than him 
awaits your decision. 

But reputation apart, O Athenians, it does 
not appear to me to be right to entreat a judge, 
or to escape by entreaty, but one ought to in- 
| form and persuade him. For a judge does not 
^-sit for the purpose of administering justice out 
of favour, but that he may judge rightly, and 
he is sworn not to shew favour to whom he 
pleases, but that he will decide according to the 
laws. It is therefore right that neither shouki 
. we accustom you, nor should you accustom 
yourselves to violate your oaths; for in so do 
ing neither of us would ad righteously. Think 
not then, O Athenians, that I ought to adopt 
such a course towards you as I neither consid 
er honourable, nor just, nor holy, as well, by 
Jupiter, on any other occasion, & now especial 
ly when I am accused of impiety by this Melitus. 
For clearly, if I should persuade you, and by 
my entreaties should put a constraint on you 
who are bound by an oath, I should teach you 
to think that there are no gods, and in reality, 
while making my defence, should accuse myself 
of not believing in the gods. This, however, is 
far from being the case: for I believe, O Athen 
ians, as none of my accusers do, and I leave it 
to you and to the deity to judge concerning me 
in such way as will be best for me and for you. 



/ Socrates here concludes his defence, & the votes 
/ being taken^ he is declared guilty by a majority of 
voices. He thereupon resumes his address. 

" HAT I should not be grieved, O Athen 
ians, at what has happened, namely, that 
you have condemned me^a^wcrl many other 
circumstances concur in bringing to pass, and 
moreover this, that what has happened has not 
happened contrary to my expectation; but I 
much rather wonder at the number of votes on 
either side. For I did not expert that I should 
be condemned by so small a number, but by a 
large majority; but now, as it seems, if only 
-ftaee more votes had changed sides, I should 
have been acquitted. As far as Melitus is con 
cerned, as it appears to me, I have been already 
acquitted, and not only have I been acquitted, 
but it is clear to every one that had not Anytus 
and Lycon come forward to accuse me, he would 
have been fined a thousand drachmes, for not 
having obtained a fifth part of the votes. 

The man then awards me the penalty of 
death. Well. But what shall I, on my part, O 
Athenians, award myself? Is it not clear that it 
will be such as I deserve? What then is that? 
do I deserve to suffer or to pay a fine, for that 
have purposely during my life not remained 
quiet, but neglerting what most men seek after, 
money-making, domestic concerns, military 



command, popular oratory, and moreover all 
the magistracies, conspiracies and cabals that are 
met with in the city, thinking that I was in 
reality too upright a man to be safe if I took 
part in such things, I therefore did not apply 
myself to those pursuits, by attending to which 
I should have been of no service either to you 
or to myself; but in order to confer the greatest 
benefit on each of you privately, as I affirm, I 
thereupon applied myself to that object, endeav 
ouring to persuade every one of you, not to take 
any care of his own affairs, before he had taken 
care of himself, in what way he may become the 
best and wisest, nor of the affairs of the city be 
fore he took care of the city itself; and that he 
should attend to other things in the same man 
ner. What treatment then do I deserve, seeing 
I am such a man? Some reward, O Athenians, 
IFat least 1 anTto be estimated according to my 
teal deserts; and moreover such a reward as 
would be suitable to me. What then is suitable 
to a poor man, a benefador, and who has need 
of leisure in order to give you good advice? 
There is nothing so suitable, O Athenians, as 
that such a man should be maintained in the 
Prytaneum, and this much more than if one of 
you had been viftorious at the Olympic games 
in a horse race, or in the two or four-horsed 
chariot race: for such a one makes you appear 
to be happy, but I, to be so: and he does not 



need support, but I do. If, therefore, 1 must 
award a sentence according to my just deserts, 
I award this, maintenance in the Prytaneum. 

Perhaps, however, in speaking to you thus, 
I appear to you to speak in the same presump 
tuous manner as I did respecting commiseration 
and entreaties: but such is not the case, O 
Athenians, it is rather this. I am persuaded that 
I never designedly injured any man, though I 
cannot persuade you of this, for we have con 
versed with each other but for a short time. For 
if there was the same law with you as with 
other men, that in capital cases the trial 
last not only one day but many, I think you 
would be persuaded; but it is not easy in a 
short time to do jiway with great calumnies. 
Being persuaded then that I have injured no 
one, I am far from intending to injure myself, 
and of pronouncing against myself that I am 
deserving of punishment, and from awarding 
myself anything of the kind. Through fear of 
what? lest I should suffer that which Melitus 
awards me, of which I say I know not whether 
it be good or evil? instead of this, shall I choose 
what I well know to be evil, and award that? 
Shall I choose imprisonment? And why should 
I live in prison, a slave to the established mag 
istracy, the Eleven? Shall I choose a fine, and 
to be imprisoned until I have paid it? But this 
is the same as that which I just now mentioned, 



for I have not money to pay it. Shall I then 
award myself exile? For perhaps you would 
consent to this award. I should indeed be very 
fond of life, O Athenians, if I were so devoid 
of reason as not to be able to reflect that you, 
who are my fellow citizens, have been unable to 
endure my manner of life and discourses, but 
they have become so burdensome and odious 
to you, that you now seek to be rid of them: 
others however will easily bear them: far from 
it, O Athenians. A fine life it would be for me 
at my age to go out wandering and driven from 
city to city, and so to live. For I well know 
that, wherever I may go, the youth will listen 
to me when I speak, as they do here. And if I 
repulse them, they will themselves drive me out, 
persuading the elders; and if I do not repulse 

them, their fathers and kindred will banish me 


on their account. ^ 

Perhaps however some one will say, Can you 
not, Socrates, when you have gone from us, live 
a silent and quiet life? This is the most difficult 
thing of all to persuade some of you. For if I 
say that j that would seojSJgkbe to disobey the 
deity, and that therefore it is impossible for me 
to live quietly, you would not believe me, think 
ing I spoke ironically. If, on the other hand, I 
/ say that this is the greatest good to man, to dis- 
// course daily on virtue, & other things which you 
f jF have heard me discussing, examining both my- 



self and others, but that a life without investiga 
tion is not worth living for, still less would you 
believe me if I said this. Such however is the 
case, as I affirm, O Athenians, though it is not 
easy to persuade you. And at the same time I 
am not accustomed to think myself deserving 
of any ill. If indeed I were rich, I would amerce 
myself in such a sum as I should be able to pay; 
for then I should have suffered no harm, but 
now for I cannot, unless you are willing to 
amerce me in such a sum as I am able to pay. 
But perhaps I could pay you a mina of silver: 
in that sum then I amerce myself. But Plato 
here, O Athenians, and Crito Critobulus, and 
Apollodorus bid me amerce myself in thirty 
minae, and they offer to be sureties. I amerce 
myself then to you in that sum; and they will 
be sufficient sureties for the money. 

The judges now proceeded to pass the sentence, 
and condemned Socrates to death; whereupon he 

JT O R the sake of no Jong space of time, O 
Athenians, you will incur the characler and 
reproach at the hands of those who wish to de 
fame the city, of having put that wise man, Soc 
rates, to death. For those who wish to defame 
you will assert that I am wise, though I am not. 
If, then, you had waited for a short time, this 



would have happened of its own accord; for ob 
serve my age, that it is far advanced in life, and 
near death. But I say this not to you all, but 
to those only who have condemned me to die. 
And I say this too to the same persons. Perhaps 
you think, O Athenians, that I have been con- 
vicled through the want of arguments, by which 
I might have persuaded you, had I thought it 
right to do and say any thing, so that I might 
escape punishment. Far otherwise: I have been 
convicted through want indeed, yet not of argu 
ments, but of audacity and impudence, and of 
the inclination to say such things to you as 
would have been most agreeable for you to hear, 
had I lamented and bewailed & done and said 
many other things unworthy of me, as I affirm, 
hut such as you are accustomed to hear from 
others. But neither did I then think that I 
ought, for the sake of avoiding danger, to do 
any thing unworthy of a freeman, nor do I now 
repent of having so defended myself; but 1 
should much rather . choose to die, having so 
defended myself, than to live in that way. For 
neither in a trial nor in battle, is it right that I 
or any one else should employ every possible 
means whereby he may avoid death; tor in bat 
tle it is frequently evident that a man might 
escape death by laying down his arms, and 
throwing himself on the mercy of his pursuers. 
And there are many other devices in every dan- 



ger, by which to avoid death, if a man dares to 
do and say everything. But this is not difficult, 
O Athenians, to escape^ death, but it is much 
more difficult to avoid depravity, for it runs 
swifter than death. And now I, being slow and > 
aged, am overtaken by the slower of the two; 
but my accusers, being strong and active, have 
been overtaken by the swifter, wickedness. And \ 
now I depart, condemned by you to death; but 
they condemned by truthj as guilty of iniquity / 
and injustice: and I abide my sentence and so >/ 
do they. These things, perhaps, ought so to be, 
and I think that they are for the best. 

In the next place, I desire to predict to you 
who have condemned me, what will be your 
fate: for I am now in that condition in which 
men most frequently prophecy, namely, when 
they are about to die. I say then to you, O 
Athenians, who have condemned me to death, 
that immediately after my death a punishment 
will overtake you, far more severe, by Jupiter, 
than that which you have inflicted on me. For 
you have done this, thinking you should be freed 
from the necessity of giving an account of your 
life. The very contrary however, as I affirm, 
will happen to you. Your accusers will be more 
numerous, whom I have now restrained, though 
you did not perceive it; and they will be more 
severe, inasmuch as they are younger, and you ; 
will be more indignant. For, if you think thar 




by putting men to death you will restrain any 
one from upbraiding you because you do not 
live well, you are much mistaken; for this meth 
od of escape is neither possible nor honourable, 
but that other is most honourable & most easy, 
not to put a check upon others, but for a man 
to take heed to himself, how he may be most 
perfect. Having predicted thus much to those of 
you who have condemned me, I take my leave 
of you. 

But with you who have voted for my acquit 
tal, I would gladly hold converse on what has 
now taken place, while the magistrates are busy 
and I am not yet carried to the place where I 
must die. Stay with me then, so long, O Athen 
ians, for nothing hinders our conversing with each 
other, whilst we are permitted to do so; for 1 wish 
to make known to you, as being my friends, the 
meaning of that which has just now befallen me. 
To me then, O my judges, and in calling you - 
judges 1 call you rightly, a strange thing has 
happened. For the wonted prophetic voice of 
my guardian deity, on every former occasion 
even in the most trifling affairs opposed me, if 
I was about to do any thing wrong; but now, 
that has befallen me which ye yourselves behold, 
and which any one would think and which is 
supposed to be the extremity of evil, yet neither 
when I departed from home in the morning 
did the warning of the god oppose me, nor 



when I came up here to the place of trial, nor 
in my address when I was about to say any thing; 
yet on other occasions it has frequently restrain 
ed me in the midst of speaking. But now, it 
has never throughout this proceeding opposed 
me, either in what I did or said. What then do 
I suppose to be the cause of this? I will tell 
you: what has befallen me appears to be a bless 
ing; and it is impossible that we think rightly 
who suppose that death is an evil. A great 
proof of this to me is the fad: that it is imposs 
ible but that the accustomed signal should have 
opposed me, unless I had been about to meet 
with some good. 

Moreover we may hence conclude that there 
is great hope that death is a blessing. For to 
die is one of two things: for either the dead 
may be annihilated and have no sensation of 
any thing whatever; or, as it is said, there is a 
certain change and passage of the soul from one 
place to another. And if it is a privation of all 
sensation, as it were a sleep in which the sleep 
er has no dream, death would be a wonderful gain. 
For I think that if any one, having seleded a 
night, in which he slept so soundly as not to have 
had a dream, and having compared this night 
with all the other nights and days of his life, 
should be required on consideration to say how 
many days and nights he had passed better and 
more pleasantly than this night throughout his 



life, 1 think that not only a private person, but 
even the great king himself would find them 
easy to number in comparison with other days 
and nights. If, therefore, death is a thing of this 
kind, I say it is a gain; for thus all futurity ap 
pears to be nothing more than one night. But 
if, on the other hand, deajh is a removal from 
hence to another place, and what is said be true, 
that all the dead are there, what greater bless 
ing can there be than this, my judges? For if, 
on arriving at Hades, released from these who 
pretend to be judges, one shall find those who 
are true judges, and who are said to judge there, 
Minos and Rhadamanthus, ./Eacus and Tripto- 
lermas, and such others of the demigods as were 
just during their own life, woyld this be a sad 
removal? At what price would you not estimate 
a conference with Orpheus and Musseus, Hesiod 
and Homer? I indeed should be willing to die 
often, if this be true. For to me the sojourn 
there would be admirable, when 1 should meet 
with Palamedes, and Ajax son of Telamon, and 
any other of the ancients who has died by an 
unjust sentence. The comparing my sufferings 
with theirs would, I think, be no unpleasing 
occupation. B.ut the greatest pleasure would be 
to spend my time in questioning and examining 
the people there as I have done those here, and 
discovering who among them is wise, and who 
fancies himself to be so but is not. At what 



price, my judges, would not any one estimate 
the opportunity of questioning him who led that 
mighty army against Troy, or Ulysses, or Sis 
yphus, or ten thousand others, whom one might 
mention, both men and women? with whom to 
converse and associate, and to question them, 
would be an inconceivable happiness. Surely for 
that the judges there do not condemn to death; 
for in other respecls those who live there art- 
more happy than those that are here, and are 
henceforth immortal, if at least what is said be 

, therefore, O my judges, ought to en 
tertain good hopes with respect to death, 
and to meditate on this one truth, that to a good 
man nothing is evil, neither while living nor 
when dead, nor are his concerns neglected by 
the gods. And what has befallen me is not the 
effect of chance; but this_is_clear to me, that now 
to die, and be freed from my carets tetter for 
me-. On this account the warning in no way 
turned me aside; and I bear no resentment to 
wards those who condemned me, or against my 
accusers, although they did not condemn and 
accuse me with this intention, but thinking to 
injure me: in this they deserve to be blamed. 

Thus much however I beg of them. Punish 
my sons, when they grow up, O judges, pain 
ing them as I have pained you, if they appear 


to you to care for riches or any thing else be 
fore virtue, and if they think themselves to be 
something when they are nothing, reproach 
them as I have done you, for not attending to 
what they ought, and for conceiving themselves 
to be something when they are worth nothing. 
If ye do this, both I and my sons shall have 
met with just treatment at your hands. 
^ But it is now time to depart, for me to die, 
y for you to live. But which of us is going to a 
\better state is unknown to every one but God.