The Last Days of Socrates (Penguin Classics)
Plato, Hugh Tredennick
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
The trial and death of Socrates (469-399 BCE) have almost as central a place in Western consciousness as the trial and death of Jesus. In four superb dialogues, Plato provides the classic account. Euthyphro finds Socrates outside the court-house, debating the nature of piety, while the Apology is his robust rebuttal of the charges of impiety and a defence of the philosopher's life. In the Crito, while awaiting execution in prison, Socrates counters the arguments of friends urging him to escape. Finally, in the Phaedo, he is shown calmly confident in the face of death, skilfully arguing the case for the immortality of the soul.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
despite some significant revisions and improvements – showing its age. In putting the volume together, I have enjoyed the support of a magnificent team of helpers, who have all been through the translations and notes, in some cases more than once, and saved me from a variety of infelicities and blunders. Martin Foulkes consented to read my material as someone with an educated interest in, but no great familiarity with, Plato. Debra Nails looked at earlier versions of the translations and notes
Let none of you expect any more. It wouldn’t be fitting in any case for someone of my age, Athenians, to come before you and fiddle with words like an adolescent boy. But if there is one thing I ask of you, men of Athens, it’s that if you hear me talking, in my defence, in the same language I habitually use in the market-place around the bankers’ stalls (where many of you have heard 17d me)1 and elsewhere, you shouldn’t be astonished or protest at it. This is the way it is: this is the first
ones the city believes in – I’m unclear whether that’s what you’re charging me with, believing in different gods, or whether your charge is unqualified on both counts: that I don’t myself believe in gods at all, and that this is what I teach others. ‘This is what I’m saying, that you’re a total non-believer in the gods.’ 26d Meletus, my dear man, why on earth are you saying that? Don’t I suppose the sun, even, or the moon to be gods, then, like the rest of mankind? ‘I swear to Zeus he doesn’t,
your death prepared” – when he heard this, he looked down on death and danger and, having much greater 28d fear of living a coward and not avenging those he loved, the poet has him saying, “Then straightway let me die, with the guilty punished; or here shall I lie, an object of mirth beside the beaked ships, a dead weight upon earth.” Surely you don’t think he cared about death and danger?’ That’s how it is, men of Athens, in truth: wherever a person makes his stand, either because that’s where
Meletus 30d damage me, nor Anytus – nor could he, since I think it’s not permitted53 for a better man to be damaged by a worse one. He’ll have me killed, no doubt, or sent into exile, or stripped of my citizenship, and probably – I imagine he isn’t alone in this – he thinks of these as great evils; but that’s not how I think of them. I think it a much worse thing to be doing what he’s now doing, trying to have a man put to death without just cause. So as a matter of fact, men of Athens, far from