The Trials of Socrates: Six Classic Texts


Lampooned in 406 B.C.E. in a blistering Aristophanic satire, Socrates was tried in 399 B.C.E. on a charge of corrupting the youth, convicted by a jury of about five hundred of his peers, and condemned to death. Glimpsed today through the extant writings of his contemporaries and near-contemporaries, he remains for us as compelling, enigmatic, and elusive a figure as Jesus or Buddha. Although present-day (like ancient Greek) opinion on the real Socrates diverges widely, six classic texts that any informed judgment of him must take into account appear together, for the first time, in this volume. Those of Plato and Xenophon appear in new, previously unpublished translations that combine accuracy, accessibility, and readability; that of Aristophanes' Clouds offers these same qualities in an unbowdlerized translation that captures brilliantly the bite of Aristophanes' wit. An Introduction to each text and judicious footnotes provide crucial background information and important cross-references.

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Editorial Reviews

This volume contains C. D. C. Reeve's translations of Plato's , , , and the death scene from ; Peter Meineck's translation of Aristophanes' ; and James Doyle's translation of Xenophon's . Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
From the Publisher

As good an introduction to the basic texts and to the historical and philosophical issues surrounding [Socrates] as can be provided today. --John Bulwer, The Joint Association of Classical Teachers Review

An excellent production; good, readable translations; helpful and reliable, but not intrusive supplementary material; and a very useful selection of texts. --Margaret Graver, Dartmouth College

In virtue of their exceptional accuracy, neutrality, and readability, Reeve's translations of the Platonic texts in The Trials of Socrates are recommended (especially for the Greekless undergraduate) as a significant improvement over their predecessors. --Vernon Provencal, Mouseion

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781603846936
  • Publisher: Hackett Publishing Co.
  • Publication date: 3/1/2002
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eTextbook
  • Pages: 200
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Peter Meineck is Clinical Associate Professor of Classics, New York University, and Artistic Director of the Aquila Theatre Company.
C. D. C. Reeve is Delta Kappa Epsilon Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
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Table of Contents

Note to the Reader
Plato 1
Euthyphro 3
The Apology of Socrates 26
Crito 62
Phaedo Death Scene (115b1-118a17) 79
Aristophanes 84
Cast of Characters: Clouds 88
Clouds 89
Xenophon 177
Socrates' Defense to the Jury 178
Further Reading 185
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