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X.

CHAP. was partly an indirect consequence, partly an isolated

manifestation. C. Justice How then does it really stand touching the jusof the sentence.

tice of this accusation and of the sentence to which (1) Un- it led? And what must be thought of the modern founded charges.

attempts to justify it? Most of the charges which (a) In re. were preferred against Socrates, rest undeniably on

misunderstandings, perversions, or false inferences. his teaching, life, Socrates is said to have rejected the Gods of the and influ

state. We have already seen this statement contradicted by all historical testimonies. He is said to have substituted his daluóviov in their place. We, however, likewise know that he neither put it in

lation to

ence.

1 It is well known that Hegel is inferior to the treatise of has defended it on the side of Preller (Haller, A. L. Z. 1838, Greek law, and Dresig, a hun- No. 87), although many of its dred years earlier, maintained details are valuable. Luzac, in a very superficial treatise, de Socrate cive 1796, despite that Socrates, as an opponent his usual learning, does little of a republican government, for the question. Grote's rehad been justly condemned. marks, on the other hand, Forchhammer goes a great deal touching the extenuating cirfurther in his treatise, and so cumstances, which, without does Dénis. See p. 178, 3. altogether justifying, excuse Köchly, on the other hand, the condemnation of Socrates, confines himself, in Acad. Vortr. are deserving of all attention. i. 382, to the assertion that in Grote, Hist. of Greece, viii. the indictment of Socrates 678, 653. guilt was equally divided and 2 Forchhammer repeats the reduced to a minimum on charge without proof, as if its either side. The answer of truth were obvious of itself, Heinsius to Forchhammer (So- and he speaks of orthodoxy and crates nach dem Grade seiner heresy like a modern theoloSchuld.

1839) is por- gian. But a Greek thought tant, and the learned Apologia far less of belief than of outSocratis contra Meliti redivivi ward service, and hence XenoCalumniam, by P. van Limburg phon, Mem. i. 1, 2, refutes the Brouwer (Grön. 1838), is de- charge by an appeal to the fact ficient in insight into the that he had sacrificed to the general questions involved, and Gods.

CHAP.

X.

the place of the Gods, nor sought thereby to encroach on the ground of oracles. It was a private oracle in addition to those publicly recognised; and in a country where divine revelations were not the exclusive property of the priesthood, a private oracle could be refused to no one. He is said to have been devoted to the atheistic, heavenly wisdom of Anaxagoras, although he expressly declared it to be absurd.4 He is said according to Aristophanes to have given instruction in the Sophistic art of oratory-a charge so untrue, that to all appearances even Meletus did not venture to prefer it. He is blamed for having been the teacher of Critias and Alcibiades, to which charge even Xenophon justly replied 5 that these men did not learn their vices from Socrates, nor degenerate, until after being separated from him. Allowing, too, that a teacher must instil into his pupils a lasting turn for the good, is it necessarily his fault if he does not succeed in some few cases ?

1

Compare p. 76, 7; 89; 149, Leben und Schriften, p. 480). 1; 178.

If Forchhammer considers it 2 Xenophon therefore appeals incredible that Meletus should to the baluórlov (Mem. i. 1, 2) have given such a careless in good faith as a proof of reply to Socrates, he forgets Socrates' belief in the Gods, that it is always the way of and Plato compares his revela- the world to confound relative tions with the prophecies of with positive atheism, doubts Euthyphro (Euthyphro, 3, B). about particular religious noIt is indeed known, from other tions with the denial of all resources, how much private di. ligion. This is quite universal vination was practised, besides in the nations of antiquity, appealing to public oracles. and therefore the early Christ

3 Not only Aristophanes but ians were called doeou. Meletus brings this charge 4 See p. 135, 1. against him in Plato, Apol. 26, 3 Mem. i. 2, 12, C., p. 10, like Ast (Platon's 6 Forchhammer, p. 43.

CHAP.

X.

verses.

The value of any instruction can only be estimated by its collective effects, and these bear as bright a testimony to the value of the instruction of Socrates as can be wished. A man whose beneficial influence not only reached to many individuals, but by whom a new foundation for morals was laid which served his people for centuries, was, as a matter of course, no corrupter of youth. If further the verses of Hesiod, by which Socrates sought to promote useful activity are alleged against him ; ? Xenophon has conclusively proved that an ill use has been made of these

If lastly, he has been accused of teaching men to despise parents and relations, because he maintained that only knowledge constituted worth ; 3 surely this is a most unfair inference from principles, which had a simple meaning in his mouth. Any teacher who makes his pupil understand that he must learn something in order to become a useful and estimable man, is surely quite in order. Only the rabble can bear the teacher a grudge for making sons wiser than their fathers. Very different would it have been had Socrates spoken disparagingly of the ignorance of parents, or set lightly by the duty of children; but from so doing he was far removed.

1 Plato's Apol. 33, D., men- follow his training rather than tions a whole string ; also that of their parents. This Xen. Mem. i. 2, 48.

fact Xenophon's Apology al2 Mem. i. 2, 56; Plato, Char. lows, and attempts to justi163, B. Conf. p. 212, 4. fy. But in order to decide 3 Mem. i. 2, 49.

whether it is an established 4 Conf. Mem. ii. 2, 3. A fact, and whether Socrates is further charge is connected here to blame, it is indeed with the above, viz., that he quite possible we need a more induced many young men to trustworthy authority, and we

It might be replied that one who judged the value of CHAP.

X. a man simply and solely by his knowledge, and who at the same time found all wanting in true knowledge, was making bis pupils self-conceited, and teaching them to consider themselves above all authority by their own imaginary knowledge. But whilst with partial eye overrating the importance of knowledge, Socrates avoided this practically harmful inference by above all endeavouring to make his friends conscious of their own want of knowledge, and laying no claim to knowledge himself, but only professing to pursue it. No fear that any one imbued with this spirit of humility and modesty, would misuse the Socratic teaching. For its misconstruction and for the consequences of a superficial and defective conception of it Socrates is as little responsible as any other teacher. Of more moment is another point touched upon (6)

Charges in the judicial proceedings—the relation of Socrates

affecting himself to the Athenian democracy. As is well his posiknown, Socrates considered the existing constitution wards the a complete failure. He would not have the power state. in the state awarded by lot or by election, but by the qualification of the individuals; and he occasionally expressed opinions respecting the masses who thronged the Pnyx and filled the theatre at assemblies of the people containing no doubt a great deal of truth, ought to know the circum- son against his father, but stances better. In the single urged the father to give him case there mentioned, that of a better education, or else exthe son of Anytus, the truth pressed himself to a third party of which appears doubtful, So- to that effect. crates probably did not set the · See p. 167.

tion to

CHAP.
X.

but coming very near to treason against the sovereignty of the people. It was natural that his accusers should make use of such expressions, and that they should not be without influence on the judges. Still a free censure of existing institutions is by no means treason. Some Grecian states may have confined the liberty of speech within very narrow limits, but at Athens the freedom of thought and of speech was unlimited; it formed an integral portion of the republican constitution; the Athenian regarded it as an inalienable right and was proud to be herein distinguished from every other state. In the time of the most violent party quarrels there is no instance of interference with either political views or political teaching. The outspoken friends of a Spartan aristocracy could openly stick to their colours, so long as they refrained from actual attacks on the existing state of things; and was Socrates not to be allowed the same privilege ? 3

In the shape of actual deeds nothing, however, could be laid to his charge. He had never trans

1 In Mem. iii. 7, Socrates at- E.: Demosth. in Androt. p. tempts to relieve Charmides of 603 ; Funebr. 1396. his dread of appearing in pub- 3 Grote's reference to the lic by reminding him, that the Platonic state, l. c. p. 679, in people whom he is afraid of, which no freedom of indivi. consist of peasants, shoemakers, dual opinion was allowed, is pedlars, &c., and therefore do not altogether to the point. not deserve such consideration. The fundamental ideas of The charge preferred by the Plato's state are different to accuser, Mem. i. 2, 58, that those then prevailing in Athens. Socrates thought it was reason- Plato, Rep. viii. 557, B., reckons able for the rich to abuse the freedom of speech among the poor, is clearly a misrepresen- evils of a democracy, a type of tation.

which was the Athenian form 2 Compare Plato, Gorg. 461, of government.

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