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thought to anything beyond immediate needs, he proscribes every attempt to analyse moral and political motives, or to test their reasonableness or the reverse; whilst as a poet he thinks nothing of trifling with truth and good manners, provided the desired end is reached. He thus becomes entangled in the inconsistency of demanding back, and yet by one and the same act destroying, the old morality. That he committed this inconsistency cannot be denied. And what a proof of shortsightedness it was to attempt to charm back a form of culture which had been irretrievably lost! That he was conscious of this inconsistency cannot be believed. Hardly would a thoughtless scoffer--which is what some would make of him-have ventured upon the dangerous path of attacking Cleon. Hardly would Plato have brought him into the society of Socrates in the Symposium, putting into his mouth a speech full of spirited humour, had he seen in him only a despicable character. If, however, the attack upon Socrates is seriously meant, and Aristophanes really thought to discern in him a Sophist dangerous alike to religion and morality—with which character he clothes him in the Clouds-then the charges preferred at the trial were not a mere pretence, and something more than personal motives led to the condemnation of Socrates.
(3) Was he Do we ask further what those motives were? All the victim that is known of the trial and the personal character of a politi
cal party? of the accusers only leaves us a choice between two
alternatives: either the attack on Socrates was
directed against his political creed' in particular, or more generally against his whole mode of thought and teaching in respect to morals, religion, and politics.2 Both alternatives are somewhat alike, still they are not so alike that we can avoid distinguishing them.
A great deal may be said in favour of the view, that the attack on Socrates was in the first place set on foot in the interest of the democratic party. Amongst the accusers, Anytus is known as one of the leading democrats of that time.3 The judges, too, are described as men, who had been banished and had returned with Thrasybulus. We know, moreover, that one of the charges preferred against Socrates was, that he had educated Critias, the most unscrupulous and the most hated of the oligarchical party; 5 Æschines tells the Athenians plainly: You have put to death the Sophist Socrates, because he was the teacher of Critias. Others, too, are found among the friends and pupils of Socrates, who must have been hated by the democrats because of their
This is the view of Fréret, 1. c. p. 233, of Dresig in the dissertation De Socrate juste damnato (Lips. 1738), of Süvern (notes to Clouds, p. 86) of Ritter, Gesch. d. Phil. ii. 30, and of Forchhammer (Die Athener und Socrates, p. 39). More indefinite is Hermann, Plat. i. 35, and Wiggers, Socr. p. 123.
2 Hegel, Gesch. d. Phil. ii. 81; Rötscher, p. 256, 268, with special reference to the Clouds of Aristophanes ; Henning,
Princ. der Ethik. p. 44. Com-
See p. 194, 1.
4 Plato, Apol. 21, A.
6 Adv. Tim. 173. No great
aristocratical sympathies. Such were Charmides,' and Xenophon, who was banished from Athens 2 about the time of the trial of Socrates, perhaps even in connection therewith, because of his intimacy with Sparta and the Spartans' friend, Cyrus the younger. Lastly, one of the formal indictments is referred to as charging Socrates with speaking disparagingly of the democratic form of election by lot,3 and with teaching his audience to treat the poor with insolence, by so frequently quoting the words
Each prince of name or chief in arms approved,
But if a clamorous vile plebeian rose,
Him with reproof he check'd, or tam'd with blows.5
Charmides, the uncle of Plato, one of the thirty, was, according to Xen. Hell. ii. 4, 19, one of the ten commanders at the Peiræus, and fell on the same day with Critias in conflict with the exiled Athenians.
2 Forchhammer, p. 84: he also mentions Theramenes, the supporter of the thirty tyrants, who may have been a pupil of Socrates without, as Forchhammer will have it, adopting the political opinions of his teacher. But Diodor., xiv. 5, from whom the story comes, is a very uncertain authority. For Diodorus combines with it the very improbable story that Socrates tried to rescue Theramenes from the clutches of the thirty, and could only be dissuaded from this audacious attempt by many entreaties.
Neither Xenophon nor Plato
5 Iliad. ii. 188. Forchhammer, p. 52, detects a great deal more in these verses. He thinks that Socrates was here expressing his conviction of
Taking all these facts into account, there can be no
the necessity of an oligarchical constitution, and was using the words of Hesiod pyov οὐδὲν ὄνειδος (which the accusers also took advantage of), as a plea for not delaying, but for striking when the time for action came. The real importance of the quotation from Homer, he contends, must not be sought in the verses quoted by Xenophon, but in those omitted by him (Il. ii. 192–197, 203-205): the charge was not brought against Socrates for spreading anti-democratic sentiments, which Xenophon alone mentions, but for promoting the establishment of an oligarchical form of government. This is, however, the very opposite of historical criticism. If Forchhammer relies upon the statements of Xenophon, how can he at the same time assert that they are false in most important points? And if on
the other hand he wishes to
strengthen these statements, how can he use them to uphold the view, by which he condemns them? He has, however, detected oligarchical tendencies elsewhere, where no traces of them exist. For in
(4) He was the victim
(a) The charges
were not directed stance, he enumerates not only against the Critias but Alcibiades among political 'the anti-democratical pupils of element in Socrates; and he speaks of the his teachpolitical activity of Socrates ing only. after the battle of Arginusæ by remarking that the oligarchs elected on the council board their brethren in political sentiments. It is true the levity of Alcibiades made him dangerous to the democratic party, but in his own time he never passed for an oligarch, but for a democrat. See Xen. Mem. i. 2, 12; Thục. viii. 63, 48 and 68. With regard to the condemnation of the victors of Arginusæ, Athens had then not only partially, as Forchhammer says, but altogether shaken off the oligarchical constitution of Pisander. This may be gathered from Fréret's remark, 1. c. p. 243, from the account of the trial (Xen. Hell. i. 7), as well as from the distinct statement of Plato (Apol. 32, C.: kal ταῦτα μὲν ἦν ἔτι δημοκρατουμένης Tĥs TÓλews); not to mention the fact that these generals were decided democrats, and hence could not have been elected by oligarchs.
1 Plato, Apol. 24, B. p. 193, 4.
(b) But extended to its moral
and religious bearings.
not only the Gods of the republican party, but the Gods of Athens. If in some few instances, as in the trial for the mutilation of the Hermæ, insult to the Gods was brought into connection with attacks on a republican constitution, the connection was neither a necessary one, nor was it named in the indictment of Socrates. Further, as regards the corruption of youth,' this charge was certainly supported by the plea that Socrates instilled into young men contempt for republican forms of government and aristocratic insolence, and also that he was the teacher of Critias. But the training of Alcibiades was also laid to his charge, who had injured the city by republican rather than by aristocratic opinions. A further count was, that he taught sons to despise their fathers, and said that no wrong or base action need be shunned if only it be of advantage.3
Herefrom it would appear that not so much the political character in the narrower sense of the term, as the moral and religious character of his teaching was the subject of attack. The latter aspects exclusively draw down the wrath of Aristophanes. After all the ancient and modern discussions as to the scope of the Clouds, it may be taken for established that the Socrates of this comedy is not only a representative -drawn with a poet's license-of a mode of thought
1 Mem. i. 2, 9.
opinions. Since then, Droysen
2 Xen. Mem. i. 2, 49; Apol. and Schnitzer, Forchhammer, 20 and 29. p. 25, and Köchly, Akad. Vortr. 1, have further gone into the question.
3 Mem. i. 2, 56.
4 Rötscher (Aristophanes, p. 272) gives a review of previous