The trial began in the morning with the reading of the formal charges against Socrates by a herald. Why, in a society enjoying more freedom and democracy than any the world had ever seen, would a 70-year-old philosopher be put to death for what he was teaching? Socrates gave a defiant--decidedly unapologetic--speech. He argues this act of disobedience--which might have led to his own execution, had not the Tyrants fallen from power--demonstrates his service as a good citizen of Athens. The horrors brought on by the Thirty Tyrants caused Athenians to look at Socrates in a new light. He could only be charged for his actions during the four years preceding his trial in 399 B.C.E. Guilt Phase of Trial. He was unsuccessful at trial in the year 399 B.C. The older accusation(s) facing Socrates is that he investigates things that belong to the gods. He pushed ahead with an unprecedented building program designed not only to demonstrate the glory that was Greece, but also to ensure full employment and provide opportunities for wealth creation among the non-propertied class. No record of the prosecution's argument against Socrates survives. Socrates spent his final hours in a cell in the Athens jail. In reality, the people that charged Socrates were just afraid that his new ideas would spread to the next generation. He reportedly says to his jurors if his teaching about the nature of virtue "corrupts the youth, I am a mischievous person." While good citizens of Athens were being liquidated right and left, Socrates--so far as we know--did or said nothing to stop the violence. Had he wanted to, Socrates could have won an acquittal. ", Heliaea (Law Court, scene of the trial of Socrates), James Colaiaco's conclusion that impiety received more prosecutorial attention than did political sins rests on Plato's Apology. With these improvements and discoveries, great thinkers were able to stretch out their knowledge to new heights. Easily the best known and most influential of the three accusers, Anytus, is widely believed to have been the driving force behind the prosecution of Socrates. Meletus accused Socrates of two major issues, including corrupting the minds of the youths and worshiping a god that was against the socially acceptable one. Apology is the actual recorded speech of Socrates by Plato, which was delivered at the trail to defend himself. Each of these four charges is false for varying reasons and I will be addressing each explanation on why each charge is a complete, of seventy, Socrates found himself fighting against an indictment of impiety. If I were a juror in this trial I would plan to vote note guilty. To comply with the demand that a genuine punishment be proposed, Socrates reluctantly suggested a fine of one mina of silver--about one-fifth of his modest net worth, according to Xenophon. On the contrary, Socrates--according to Plato--contends that the unmanly and pathetic practice of pleading for clemency disgraces the justice system of Athens. Socrates asks if all men improve horses and only one person corrupts them. Stone concludes: "One could in the same city and in the same century worship Zeus as a promiscuous old rake, henpecked and cuckolded by Juno or as Justice deified. In proposing death, the accusers might well have expected to counter with a proposal for exile--a punishment that probably would have satisfied both them and the jury. The summons required Socrates to appear before the legal magistrate, or King Archon, in a colonnaded building in central Athens called the Royal Stoa to answer charges of impiety and corrupting the youth. in his The Lives of Eminent Philosophers, Diogenes Laertius reported that Socrates "discussed moral questions in the workshops and the marketplace." Socrates defends himself against the charges brought against him by his prosecutor Meletus in two ways. He has more reason to fear his older accusers than these recent ones, because the former have been speaking out against him for some time, prejudicing many of the jurymen against him from the time of their youth. If Plato's account is accurate, the jury knew that the only way to stop Socrates from lecturing about the moral weaknesses of Athenians was to kill him. Socrates is charged with impiety. Rather, it required--in addition to belief in the gods-- observance of rites, prayers, and the offering of sacrifices. Anytus supported the Amnesty of Eucleides in 403 that prohibited prosecution of offenses occurring during or before the Rule of Thirty. Anytus had an additional personal gripe with Socrates. Many people did not agree with Socrates, so they made several charges against him, which is recorded in the Apology, discussing the four charges brought against Socrates in Plato’s essay The Apology# and why exactly each of these charges is completely fictitious. If I. F. Stone is right, the most damaging accusation against Socrates concerned his association with Critias, the cruel leader of the Thirty Tyrants. It is not known whether the relationship included sex, but Socrates--as were many men of the time in Athens--was bisexual and slept with some of his younger students. More importantly, he contends, he has battled for decades to save the souls of Athenians--pointing them in the direction of an examined, ethical life. Finally, as he is being led off to jail, Socrates utters the memorable line: "The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways--I to die, and you to live. In Athens, criminal proceedings could be initiated by any citizen. In his play Clouds, first produced in 423 B.C.E., Aristophanes presents Socrates as an eccentric and comic headmaster of a "thinkery" (or "thoughtery"). He was no longer a lovable town eccentric. That means that any citizen has the right to choose what to listen to. Plato's Meno offers a possible clues as to the animosity between Anytus, a politician coming from a family of tanners, and Socrates. The final straw may well have been another antidemocratic uprising--this one unsuccessful--in 401. Critias, first among an oligarchy known as the "Thirty Tyrants," led the second bloody revolt against the restored Athenian democracy in 404. Is that what you mean? Socrates, the son of a sculptor (or stonecutter) and a midwife, was a young boy when the rise to power of Pericles brought on the dawning of the "Golden Age of Greece." Plato wrote that, prior to the prosecution of Socrates, Meletus was "unknown" to him. He tells the crowd that his conviction resulted from his unwillingness to "address you as you would have liked me to do." Lycon may also have blamed Socrates for a homosexual relationship between his son, Autolycus, and a friend of Socrates--three decades older than Autolycus--named Callias. It included not just respect for the gods, but also for the dead and ancestors. Without a "worthy adviser" his son, Socrates predicted, would "fall into some disgraceful propensity and will surely go far in the career of vice.". Socrates must have known that his proposed "punishment" would infuriate the jury. Ancient Athens was the site of a growing culture. Stone notes, however, that a good citizen might have done more than simply go home to bed--he might have warned Leon of Salamis. As a young man, Socrates saw a fundamental power shift, as Pericles--perhaps history's first liberal politician--acted on his belief that the masses, and not just property-owning aristocrats, deserved liberty. Royal Stoa (scene of the preliminary hearing for Socrates). Socrates himself, apparently, took no offense at his portrayal in Clouds. October 2015 Although the Thirty normally used their own gang of thugs for such duties, the oligarchy asked Socrates to arrest Leon of Salamis so that he might be executed and his assets appropriated. Under Athenian law, execution was accomplished by drinking a cup of poisoned hemlock. Socrates contended that orators were less concerned with the pursuit of truth than in using their oratorical skills to obtain power and influence. It appears that Socrates, undeterred by the antidemocratic revolts and their aftermaths, resumed his teachings and once again began attracting a similar band of youthful followers. Plato’s Symposium and especially his Apology of Socrates justify the claims made in Clouds about the dangers of philosophy and Socrates to, Socrates: Not Guilty In the case of Socrates, the proceedings began when Meletus, a poet, delivered an oral summons to Socrates in the presence of witnesses. Plato quotes Socrates as saying, "I had a brief association with the son of Anytus, and I found him not lacking in spirit." Is he guilty of them? Socrates knew how to die. Plutarch, in his Moralia, quoted Socrates as saying, "When they break a jest upon me in the theatre, I feel as if I were at a big party of good friends." The manner in which he chose to die enhanced his reputation among his associates and made him the first great martyr for the cause of free speech, a sort of secular saint. It is a matter of dispute among historians whether the accusers focused more attention on the alleged religious crimes, or the alleged political crimes, of Socrates. The society they lived in, both welcomed and shunned their ideals. Adding to the displeasure of Anytus must have been the advice Socrates gave to his son. When the ballots were counted, 280 jurors had voted to find Socrates guilty, 220 jurors for acquittal. Piety had, for Athenians, a broad meaning. Comic poet Eupolis has one of his characters say: "Yes, and I loathe that poverty-stricken windbag Socrates, who contemplates everything in the world but does not know where his next meal is coming from." Alcibiades, perhaps Socrates' favorite Athenian politician, masterminded the first overthrow. Criminal Procedure in Ancient Greece and the Trial of Socrates, Links & Bibliography for the Trial of Socrates. To him, the people should not be self-governing; they were like a herd of sheep that needed the direction of a wise shepherd. Socrates--and his icy logic--came to be seen as a dangerous and corrupting influence, a breeder of tyrants and enemy of the common man. is at once the most exemplary and the strangest of the Greek philosophers. What could Socrates have said or done that prompted a jury of 500 Athenians to send him to his death just a few years before he would have died naturally? that succeeded in overthrowing the Thirty Tyrants. The Socrates portrayed, Towards the end of Socrates' defense he states, " They enjoy hearing these being questioned who think they are wise, but are not." The jurors sat on wooden benches separated from the large crowd of spectators--including a 27-year-old pupil of Socrates named Plato--by some sort of barrier or railing. Plato's Socrates provocatively tells his jury that he is a hero. Birds, a play of Aristophanes written six years after his Clouds, contains a revealing reference. The trial of Socrates thus became the most interesting suicide the world has ever seen. Meletus accuses Socrates of believing the sun and moon not to be gods, but merely masses of stone. The prosecution presented its case first. Anytus' motivation in prosecuting Socrates is believed to have been based on his concern that the Socrates's criticism of Athenian institutions endangered the democracy that Athens had so recently regained. We get one contemporary view of Socrates from playwright Aristophanes. Apology of Socrates Each side, the accusers and the defendant, was given an opportunity to propose a punishment. The prosecution presented its case first. Plato's Meno offers some possible clues as to the animosity between Anytus and Socrates. He points out that Aristophanes, in his Clouds, had a character speculating that rain was Zeus urinating through a sieve, mistaking it for a chamber pot--and that no one ever bothered to charge Aristophanes with impiety. The oligarchy confiscated the estates of Athenian aristocrats, banished 5,000 women, children, and slaves, and summarily executed about 1,500 of the most prominent democrats of Athens. It is in essential agreement with the references to the trial that occur in Plato 's other dialogs. Socrates (rubbing chin) and Plato (under tree) from a mosaic from Pompeii, Writing in the third-century C.E.

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