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Whence have these prejudices against you arisen? For certainly this great report and talk has not arisen while you were doing nothing more out of the way than the rest, unless you were doing something other than most people; so tell us.


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So listen. And perhaps I shall seem to some of you to be joking; be assured, however, I shall speak perfect truth to you. What kind of wisdom is this? Just that which is perhaps human wisdom. For perhaps I really am wise in this wisdom; and these men, perhaps,. You know Chaerephon, I fancy. And you know the kind of man Chaerephon was, how impetuous in whatever he undertook. Now the Pythia replied that there was no one wiser.

And about these things his brother here will bear you witness, since Chaerephon is dead. For I am conscious that I am not wise either much or little. What then does he mean by declaring that I am the wisest? He certainly cannot be lying, for that is not possible for him. I went to one of those who had a reputation for wisdom,. I seem, then, in just this little thing to be wiser than this man at any rate, that what I do not know I do not think I know either.

So I had to go, investigating the meaning of the oracle, to all those who were reputed to know anything. So I must relate to you my wandering as I performed my Herculean labors, so to speak, in order that the oracle might be proved to be irrefutable. For after the public men I went to the poets, those of tragedies, and those of dithyrambs,. So, taking up the poems of theirs that seemed to me to have been most carefully elaborated by them, I asked them what they meant, that I might at the same time learn something from them. Now I am ashamed to tell you the truth, gentlemen; but still it must be told.

For there was hardly a man present, one might say, who would not speak better than they about the poems they themselves had composed. So again in the case of the poets also I presently recognized this,. And at the same time I perceived that they, on account of their poetry, thought that they were the wisest of men in other things as well, in which they were not. So I went away from them also thinking that I was superior to them in the same thing in which I excelled the public men. And in this I was not deceived; they did know what I did not, and in this way they were wiser than I.

I replied then to myself and to the oracle that it was better for me to be as I am. Therefore I am still even now going about and searching and investigating at the god's behest anyone, whether citizen or foreigner, who I think is wise; and when he does not seem so to me, I give aid to the god and show that he is not wise. And by reason of this occupation I have no leisure to attend to any of the affairs of the state worth mentioning, or of my own , but am in vast poverty. And in addition to these things, the young men who have the most leisure, the sons of the richest men, accompany me of their own accord, find pleasure in hearing people being examined, and often imitate me themselves, and then they undertake to examine others; and then, I fancy, they find a great plenty of people who think they know something, but know little or nothing.

From among them Meletus attacked me, and Anytus and Lycon, Meletus angered on account of the poets, and Anytus on account of the artisans and the public men,. And whether you investigate. Now so far as the accusations are concerned which my first accusers made against me, this is a sufficient defence before you; but against Meletus, the good and patriotic, as he says, and the later ones, I will try to defend myself next. So once more, as if these were another set of accusers, let us take up in turn their sworn statement. It is about as follows: it states that Socrates is a wrongdoer because he corrupts the youth and does not believe in the gods the state believes in, but in other.

Such is the accusation. But let us examine each point of this accusation. He says I am a wrongdoer because I corrupt the youth. And that this is so I will try to make plain to you also. Come here, Meletus, tell me: don't you consider it. For it is evident that you know, since you care about it. For you have found the one who corrupts them, as you say, and you bring me before these gentlemen and accuse me; and now, come, tell who makes them better and inform them who he is. Do you see, Meletus, that you are silent and cannot tell? And yet does it not seem to you disgraceful and a sufficient proof of what I say, that you have never cared about it?

But tell, my good man, who. Are these gentlemen able to instruct the youth, and do they make them better? But how about this?

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Now that I do not lie against God I have the following proof: I have revealed to many of my friends the counsels which God has given me, and in no instance has the event shown that I was mistaken. Once on a time when Chaerephon made inquiry at the Delphic oracle concerning me, in the presence of many people Apollo answered that no man was more free than I, or more just, or more prudent.

However, do not believe the god even in this without due grounds, but examine the god's utterance in detail. Who in the world more free,—for I accept neither gifts nor pay from any one? Whom would you with reason regard as more just than the one so reconciled to his present possessions as to want nothing beside that belongs to another? And would not a person with good reason call me a wise man, who from the time when I began to understand spoken words have never left off seeking after and learning every good thing that I could?

And what shall we say is accountable for this fact, that although everybody knows that it is quite impossible for me to repay with money, many people are eager to make me some gift?


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Or for this, that no demands are made on me by a single person for the repayment of benefits, while many confess that they owe me a debt of gratitude? Or for this, that while other men get their delicacies in the markets and pay a high price for them, I devise more pleasurable ones from the resources of my soul, with no expenditure of money?

And now, if no one can convict me of misstatement in all that I have said of myself, do I not unquestionably merit praise from both gods and men?

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Now very likely the god repulsed him from his attempt to investigate an ancient myth as though it were a painting to be tested by the touch. He had recently been at the shrine of Ammon, and it was plain that he was not particularly impressed by most of the things there, but in regard to the everburning lamp he related a story told by the priests which deserves special consideration ; it is that the lamp consumes less and less oil each year, and they hold that this is a proof of a disparity in the years, which all the time is making one year shorter in duration than its predecessor ; for it is reasonable that in less duration of time the amount consumed should be less.

Besides, Demetrius, not to allow that small things are indication of great stands directly in the way of many arts ; for it will result in taking away from us the demonstration of many facts and the prognostication of many others.

This was what one might hear from the priests of the prophetic shrine there ; so some other rejoinder must be offered to them, if we would make for the sun the wonted order of its course immutable, in accord with the tradition of the ages. In fact, the eclipses will prove it, as the sun more frequently casts a shadow on the moon and the moon on the earth ; the other facts are clear, and there is no need to disclose in further detail the imposture in the argument.

But on the assumption that the report is true, is it not better to assign the cause to some coldness or moisture in the air by which the flame is made to languish, and so very likely does not take up nor need very much to support it? Or, quite the reverse, may we assign the cause to spells of dryness and heat?

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For great was the ancient repute of the divine influence there, but at the present time it seems to be somewhat evanescent. What need to speak of others, when in Boeotia, which in former times spoke with many tongues because of its oracles, the oracles have now failed completely, even as if they were streams of flowing water, and a great drought in prophecy has overspread the land? For nowhere now except in the neighbourhood of Lebadeia has Boeotia aught to offer to those who would draw from the well-spring of prophecy.

As for the rest, silence has come upon some and utter desolation upon others. All this was in harmony, as it were, with events to come ; for Mardonius was vanquished while the Greeks were led, not by a king, but by a guardian and deputy of a king 4 ; and he fell, struck by a stone j ust as the Lydian dreamed that he was struck in his sleep.

While they were wondering and questioning the mere possibility that the god had been born, not in their island, but somewhere else, the prophetic priestess told them in another oracle that a crow would show them the spot. So they went away and, when they reached Chaeroneia, they heard the woman who kept their inn conversing about the oracle with some strangers who were on their way to Tegyrae. There have been also more recent manifestations than these at these oracles, but now the oracles are no more ; so it is well worth while, here in the precinct of the Pythian god, to examine into the reason for the change.

Thucydides, v. Proceeding onward from the temple, we had by this time reached the doors of the Cnidian Clubhouse.

There was quiet among the other people there because of the hour, as they were engaged in taking a rub-down or else watching the athletes. The foundations may still be seen.

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Thus those maladies and emotions of the soul which it would be good to disclaim and conceal in the presence of an older man, they bring naked and exposed before the god. Moralia, e. The fact is that the man who holds that the obsolescence of such of the oracles as have ceased to function has been brought about by some other cause and not by the will of a god gives reason for suspecting that he believes that their creation and continued existence was not due to the god, but was brought about in some other way.

For prophecy is something created by a god, and certainly no greater or more potent force exists to abolish and obliterate it. Now I do not like what Planetiades said, and one of the reasons is the inconsistency which it creates regarding the god,[p. Now moderation, adequacy, excess in nothing, and complete selfsufficiency are above all else the essential characteristics of everything done by the gods ; and if anyone should take this fact as a starting-point, and assert that Greece has far more than its share in the general depopulation which the earlier discords and wars have wrought throughout practically the whole inhabited earth, and that to-day the whole of Greece would hardly muster three thousand men-at-arms, which is the number that the one city of the Megarians sent forth to Plataeae 1 for the god's abandoning of many oracles is nothing other than his way of substantiating the desolation of Greece , in this way such a man would give some accurate evidence of his keenness in reasoning.

For who would profit if there were an oracle in Tegyrae, as there used to be, or at Ptoiim, where during some part of the day one might possibly meet a human being pasturing his flocks? And regarding the oracle here at Delphi, the most ancient in time and the most famous in repute, men record that for a long time it was made desolate and unapproachable by a fierce creature, a serpent; they do not, however, put the correct interpretation upon its lying idle, but quite the reverse ; for it was the desolation that attracted the creature rather than that the creature caused the desolation.

But to-day there is one priestess and we do not complain, for she meets every need. There is no reason, therefore, to blame the god ; the exercise of the prophetic art which continues at the present day is sufficient for all, and sends away all with their desires fulfilled.

In the same way, in those days, prophecy employed more voices to speak to more people, but to-day, quite the reverse, we should needs be surprised at the god if he allowed his prophecies to run to waste, like water, or to echo like the rocks with the voices of shepherds and flocks in waste places. Herodotus, ix. But from the demigods a few souls still, in the long reach of time, because of supreme excellence, come, after being purified, to share completely in divine qualities.