17Ὅτι μὲν ὑμεῖς, ὦ ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι, πεπόνθατε ὑπὸ τῶν ἐμῶν κατηγόρων, οὐκ οἶδα· ἐγὼ δ’ οὖν καὶ αὐτὸς ὑπ’ αὐτῶν ὀλίγου ἐμαυτοῦ ἐπελαθόμην, οὕτω πιθανῶς ἔλεγον. καίτοι ἀληθές γε ὡς ἔπος εἰπεῖν οὐδὲν εἰρήκασιν. | μάλιστα δὲ αὐτῶν ἓν ἐθαύμασα τῶν πολλῶν ὧν ἐψεύσαντο, τοῦτο ἐν ᾧ ἔλεγον ὡς χρῆν1 ὑμᾶς εὐλαβεῖσθαι μὴ ὑπ’ ἐμοῦ ἐξαπατηθῆτε bὡς δεινοῦ ὄντος λέγειν. τὸ γὰρ μὴ αἰσχυνθῆναι ὅτι αὐτίκα ὑπ’ ἐμοῦ ἐξελεγχθήσονται ἔργῳ, ἐπειδὰν μηδ’ ὁπωστιοῦν φαίνωμαι δεινὸς λέγειν, τοῦτό μοι ἔδοξεν αὐτῶν ἀναισχυντότατον εἶναι, εἰ μὴ ἄρα δεινὸν καλοῦσιν | οὗτοι λέγειν τὸν τἀληθῆ λέγοντα· εἰ μὲν γὰρ τοῦτο λέγουσιν, ὁμολογοίην ἂν ἔγωγε οὐ κατὰ τούτους εἶναι ῥήτωρ. οὗτοι μὲν οὖν, ὥσπερ ἐγὼ λέγω, ἤ τι ἢ οὐδὲν ἀληθὲς εἰρήκασιν, ὑμεῖς δέ μου ἀκούσεσθε πᾶσαν τὴν ἀλήθειαν—οὐ μέντοι μὰ Δία, ὦ ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι, κεκαλλιεπημένους γε λόγους, cὥσπερ οἱ τούτων, ῥήμασί τε
17In what respect you, men of Athens,1 have been affected by my accusers I do not know; however that may be, thanks to them even I myself almost forgot who I was, they spoke so plausibly. Yet almost nothing of what they said is true. One of their many lies in particular surprised me, the one where they were saying that you ought to be on your guard not to be fooled by me bbecause I’m a clever speaker. You see, for them not to feel any shame because they will be immediately proved wrong by me in fact, since there is no way whatever I can appear to be clever at speaking—that’s what seemed to me to be the most shameful thing about them, unless, that is, these people use the phrase “a clever speaker” for someone who tells the truth. If this is indeed what they mean, I myself would agree I’m an orator, but not as they would understand the word. These people then, as I say, have said little or nothing that is true, but from me you will hear nothing but the truth—not however, by Zeus, men of Athens, arguments tricked out with phrases and fine words cas theirs are, nor ornately arranged,
- 1One of a number of formal ways of addressing juries found in extant forensic speeches. S.’s avoidance of the conventional ō andres dikastai (members [men] of the jury) at this point in the speech may be deliberate on Plato’s part, since at 40a2–3 he addresses those who voted to acquit him as those whom he can truly call “members of the jury.” For their function as both judge and jury, and details of the historical and forensic context of S.’s trial, see Introduction to Apology, section 2.