Plato, Apology 18b-d, 19b-c = T27 Kassel-Austin

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[18b-d] ἐμοῦ γὰρ πολλοὶ κατήγοροι γεγόνασι πρὸς ὑμᾶς καὶ πάλαι πολλὰ ἤδη ἔτη καὶ οὐδὲν ἀληθὲς λέγοντες, οὓς ἐγὼ μᾶλλον φοβοῦμαι ἢ τοὺς ἀμφὶ Ἄνυτον, καίπερ ὄντας καὶ τούτους δεινούς. ἀλλ’ ἐκεῖνοι δεινότεροι, ὦ ἄνδρες, οἳ ὑμῶν τοὺς πολλοὺς ἐκ παίδων παραλαμβάνοντες ἔπειθόν τε καὶ κατηγόρουν ἐμοῦ μᾶλλον οὐδὲν ἀληθές, ὡς ἔστιν τις Σωκράτης σοφὸς ἀνήρ, τά τε μετέωρα φροντιστὴς καὶ τὰ ὑπὸ γῆς ἅπαντα ἀνεζητηκὼς καὶ τὸν ἥττω λόγον κρείττω ποιῶν. οὗτοι, ὦ ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι, <οἱ> <οἱ> Heindorf ταύτην τὴν φήμην κατασκεδάσαντες, οἱ δεινοί εἰσίν μου κατήγοροι· οἱ γὰρ ἀκούοντες ἡγοῦνται τοὺς ταῦτα ζητοῦντας οὐδὲ θεοὺς νομίζειν. ἔπειτά εἰσιν οὗτοι οἱ κατήγοροι πολλοὶ καὶ πολὺν χρόνον ἤδη κατηγορηκότες, ἔτι δὲ καὶ ἐν ταύτηι τῆι ἡλικίαι λέγοντες πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἐν ἧι ἂν μάλιστα ἐπιστεύσατε, παῖδες ὄντες ἔνιοι ὐμῶν καὶ μειράκια, ἀτεχνῶς ἐρήμην κατηγοροῦντες ἀπολογουμένου οὐδενός. ὃ δὲ πάντων ἀλογώτατον, ὅτι οὐδὲ τὰ ὀνόματα οἷόν τε αὐτῶν εἰδέναι καὶ εἰπεῖν, πλὴν εἴ τις κωμωιδοποιὸς τυγχάνει ὤν. ὅσοι δὲ φθόνωι καὶ διαβολῆι χρώμενοι ὑμᾶς ἀνέπειθον, οἱ δὲ καὶ αὐτοὶ πεπεισμένοι ἄλλους πείθοντες, οὗτοι πάντες ἀπορώτατοί εἰσιν· οὐδὲ γὰρ ἀναβιβάσασθαι οἷόν τ’ ἐστὶν αὐτῶν ἐνταῦθοι οὐδ’ ἐλέγξαι οὐδένα, ἀλλ’ ἀνάγκη ἀτεχνῶς ὥσπερ σκιαμαχεῖν ἀπολογούμενόν τε καὶ ἐλέγχειν μηδενὸς ἀποκρινομένου.

[19b-c] …ὥσπερ οὖν κατηγόρων τὴν ἀντωμοσίαν δεῖ ἀναγνῶναι αὐτῶν· “Σωκράτης ἀδικεῖ καὶ περιεργάζεται ζητῶν τά τε ὑπὸ γῆς καὶ οὐράνια καὶ τὸν ἥττω λόγον κρείττω ποιῶν, καὶ ἄλλους ταὐτὰ ταῦτα διδάσκων.” τοιαύτη τις ἐστιν· ταῦτα γὰρ ἑωρᾶτε καὶ αὐτοὶ ἐν τῆι Ἀριστοφάνους κωμωιδίαι, Σωκράτη τινὰ ἐκεῖ περιφερόμενον, φάσκοντά τε ἀεροβατεῖν καὶ ἄλλην πολλὴν φλυαρίαν φλυαροῦντα, ὧν ἐγὼ οὐδὲν οὔτε μέγα οὔτε μικρὸν πέρι ἐπαΐω.

[18b-d] For there have been many who have made accusations against me to you; they have done so for many years now, and none of what they say is true. And I fear these men more than Anytus and his circle, although they, too, are dangerous. But the earlier men are more so, gentlemen, who got hold of you and persuaded many of you from childhood onwards, and their accusations against me were just as false: that there is a wise man called Socrates, a deep thinker, who has investigated all the celestial bodies and everything under the earth and who makes the weaker argument the stronger. These men, gentlemen of Athens, who have spread this report, are the accusers whom I fear: for those who hear them think that people who inquire into such matters do not worship the gods. Furthermore, these accusers are numerous and have been slandering me for a long time now, and they also spoke to you at that time of life in which you were most likely to believe them, since some of you were children or adolescents and, simply put, they won their case by default, since no one made a defense. But what is most senseless of all is that it is not even possible to know and state their names, unless one of them happens to be a comic poet. Those who employed malice and slander to persuade you and, being persuaded themselves, then persuaded others, are all very difficult to refute. For it is not possible to bring them to court or to cross-examine any of them, but one must simply fight shadows, as it were, making a defense and a refutation with no one to answer.

[19b-c] Therefore, it is necessary to read out their ‘affidavit’ as it were, as if they had brought a formal accusation: “Socrates is committing injustice and is meddling in matters that he should not, inquiring about the things beneath the earth and in the heavens and making the weaker argument the stronger and teaching others these same things.” It is something like that. For you yourselves have also seen these things in the comedy of Aristophanes; a man called Socrates swinging around there, saying that he can walk on air and speaking a whole lot of other nonsense on matters about which I know nothing great or small.

Relevant guides Aristophanes