Xenophon of Athens, Memorabilia

LCL 168: 8-9

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1. Πολλάκις ἐθαύμασα, τίσι ποτὲ λόγοις Ἀθηναίους ἔπεισαν οἱ γραψάμενοι Σωκράτην ὡς ἄξιος εἴη θανάτου τῇ πόλει. ἡ μὲν γὰρ γραφὴ κατ᾿ αὐτοῦ τοιάδε τις ἦν· Ἀδικεῖ Σωκράτης οὓς μὲν ἡ πόλις νομίζει θεοὺς οὐ νομίζων, ἕτερα δὲ καινὰ δαιμόνια εἰσφέρων· ἀδικεῖ δὲ καὶ τοὺς νέους διαφθείρων.

2Πρῶτον μὲν οὖν, ὡς οὐκ ἐνόμιζεν οὓς ἡ πόλις νομίζει θεούς, ποίῳ ποτ᾿ ἐχρήσαντο τεκμηρίῳ; θύων τε γὰρ φανερὸς ἦν πολλάκις μὲν οἴκοι, πολλάκις δὲ ἐπὶ τῶν κοινῶν τῆς πόλεως βωμῶν, καὶ μαντικῇ χρώμενος οὐκ ἀφανὴς ἦν· διετεθρύλητο γὰρ ὡς φαίη Σωκράτης τὸ δαιμόνιον ἑαυτῷ σημαίνειν· ὅθεν δὴ καὶ μάλιστά μοι δοκοῦσιν αὐτὸν αἰτιάσασθαι καινὰ δαιμόνια εἰσφέρειν. 3ὁ δ᾿ οὐδὲν καινότερον εἰσέφερε τῶν ἄλλων, ὅσοι μαντικὴν νομίζοντες οἰωνοῖς τε χρῶνται καὶ φήμαις καὶ συμβόλοις καὶ θυσίαις. οὗτοί τε γὰρ ὑπολαμβάνουσιν οὐ τοὺς ὄρνιθας οὐδὲ τοὺς ἀπαντῶντας εἰδέναι τὰ συμφέροντα τοῖς μαντευομένοις, ἀλλὰ τοὺς θεοὺς διὰ τούτων αὐτὰ σημαίνειν, κἀκεῖνος δὲ οὕτως ἐνόμιζεν. 4ἀλλ᾿ οἱ μὲν πλεῖστοί φασιν ὑπό τε




1. I have often wondered by what arguments those who drew up the indictment against Socrates could persuade the Athenians that he deserved to forfeit his life to the state. The indictment against him was to this effect: Socrates does wrong by not worshipping the gods worshipped by the state and of bringing in other novel divinities: he also does wrong by corrupting the young men.

2First then, that he did not worship the gods worshipped by the state—what evidence did they produce of that? He often offered sacrifices, and made no secret of it, now in his home, now at the communal altars of the state, and he made use of divination with as little secrecy; indeed it had become notorious that Socrates claimed to be guided by his “divine sign”:1 it was out of this claim, I think, that the charge of bringing in novel deities arose. 3He was no more bringing in anything novel than are others who practice divination and rely on augury, utterances, coincidences and sacrifices. For these men’s belief is not that the birds or the people met by accident know what profits the inquirer, but that they are the instruments by which the gods make this known; and that was Socrates’ belief too. 4Only

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.xenophon_athens-memorablia_2013.2013