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Headword: Σωκράτης
Adler number: sigma,829
Translated headword: Socrates, Sokrates
Vetting Status: high
The son of Sophroniscus, a stonecutter, and, as his mother, of Phaenarete, a midwife. At first he [sc. too] became a stonecutter, so that they say that his task was the Graces embedded in Athens; then, he took up philosophy after hearing the lectures of Anaxagoras of Clazomenae, then of Damon, and then of Archelaus. Aristoxenus however says that he listened to Archelaus first. He also said that he [sc. Socrates] became his [sc. Archelaos'] beloved, and was very intense in erotic matters, but without any wrong-doing, as Porphyry says in the Philosophic History.[1] When he had arrived at manhood he went on campaign to Amphipolis and Potidaea and [sc. he fought] at Delion. He was married twice, to Xanthippe, from whom he begot a son Lamprocles, and then as a second wife, to Myrto, the daughter of Aristeides the Just, by whom were born Sophroniscus and Menedemus or Menexenus, as some think.[2] And he lived approximately in the time of the Peloponnesian War, in the 77th Olympiad,[3] and he lived 80 years, then because of the irrationality -- or rather the madness -- of the Athenians, was forced to drink hemlock and died, having left nothing in writing or, as some claim, a hymn to Apollo and Artemis and an Aesopic fable in epic verse. Among the philosophers he trained was Plato, who left the Lyceum, a place in Athens, and transferred the school in a suburb, called the Academy, and those who followed were called the Academics until Aristotle. Now he [sc. Aristotle] had been a disciple of Plato and passed his time in a certain garden outside the city. From his strolling around he gave the name Peripatetics to his followers. Amongst them was Aristippus the Cyrenaean, who introduced his own sect and established a school called the Cyrenaic; Phaedo the Elean, who established his school called after him the Eleatic, but later it was called the Eretrian -- since Menedemus taught in Eretria -- and from this teacher Pyrrhus too arose; Antisthenes, who introduced the Cynic sect; Euclides of Megara, who established his own school, which is named Megarian after him, but from Clinomachus the disciple of Euclides it was [sc. also] called the Dialectic [school]; Xenophon the son of Gryllus; Aeschines; Lysanias of Sphettos;[4] Cebes of Thebes, Glaucon of Athens; Bryson of Heraclea -- [it was he] who introduced eristic dialectic after Euclides, whereas Clinomachus augmented it, and whereas many came on account of it, it came to an end with Zeno of Citium, for he gave it the name Stoic, after its location [a stoa], this having occurred in the 105th Olympiad (but some [say that] Bryson was a student not of Socrates but of Euclides; Pyrrho was also a student of his, from whom the Pyrrhics get their name); Alcibiades, Critobulus, Xenomedon, and Apollodorus, [all of them] Athenians; in addition Crito and Simo(n), Eumares the Philasian [= Phliasian], Simmias the Theban, Terpsion the Megarian, Chaerephon. And Theodorus, who was called 'the atheist', also was a disciple of his; holding an opinion about moral indifference and teaching it, he founded his own sect, which is called the Theodoran.
[It is said] that[5] when Socrates took up philosophy, he became a student of Archelaus the natural philosopher. But he placed moral philosophy first[6] and had well-known citizens [sc. as students]: Plato, Xenophon, Alcibiades, Critias, Antisthenes; the Thebans Simmias and Cebes; the Cyrenaean Aristippus, Phaedon, and Euclides the Megarian. He said that a guardian spirit [daimonion] associated with him. He even learned to play the kithara from Conon, although he was already elderly.[7] When he was teased by Solon,[8] he said, 'Better a late learner than ignorant'. By Xanthippe he fathered Sophroniscus and Lamprocles. He was envied because most of the young men were erotically attracted to him. And first Aristophanes wrote a comedy, the Clouds, against him, charging that he corrupted the youth and was an atheist, because he swore by 'the dog' and 'the plane-tree'[9] in an exaggeration of religiosity. Finally Anytus and Meletus indicted him on these charges and won their case. In the assessing of punishments he proposed dinners in the Prytaneum whereas they proposed death.[10] Moreover he was confined for some time until the delegation of official observers should return from Delos. And it was not allowed, once the ship had set sail until it returned to port, for anyone to be judicially executed. Although Crito proposed exile for him, he rejected the idea, for he said that one ought not to violate the laws. When he had drunk the hemlock, he recalled a vow he had made and said, 'Sacrifice to Asclepius'. A man by the name of Cyrsas,[11] of Chian stock, came to associate with Socrates. As he slept by the tomb, [Socrates] appeared in a dream and conversed with him. So he straightway sailed home having only this profit from the philosopher.
Greek Original:
Σωκράτης, Σωφρονίσκου λιθοξόου καὶ μητρὸς Φαιναρέτης μαίας: πρότερον γενόμενος λιθοξόος, ὥστε καί φασιν αὐτοῦ ἔργον εἶναι τὰς Ἀθήνησιν ἐνδεδυμένας Χάριτας: εἶτα φιλοσοφήσας διὰ τὸ ἀκοῦσαι Ἀναξαγόρου τοῦ Κλαζομενίου, εἶτα Δάμωνος, εἶτα Ἀρχελάου. Ἀριστόξενος δὲ Ἀρχελάου πρῶτον αὐτὸν διακοῦσαι λέγει: γεγονέναι δὲ αὐτοῦ καὶ παιδικά, σφοδρότατόν τε περὶ τὰ ἀφροδίσια, ἀλλὰ ἀδικήματος χωρίς, ὡς Πορφύριος ἐν τῇ Φιλοσόφῳ ἱστορίᾳ φησίν. εἰς δὲ ἄνδρας ἐλθὼν ἐστρατεύσατο εἴς τε Ἀμφίπολιν καὶ Ποτίδαιαν καὶ ἐπὶ Δηλίῳ. καὶ γαμεταῖς δὲ συνῴκησε δύο, Ξανθίππῃ, ἀφ' ἧς ἔσχεν υἱὸν Λαμπροκλέα: καὶ δευτέρᾳ Μυρτοῖ, τῇ Ἀριστείδου τοῦ δικαίου θυγατρί, ἐξ ἧς ἐγένετο Σωφρονίσκος καὶ Μενέδημος ἢ Μενέξενος, ὥς τισι δοκεῖ. καὶ ἐπὶ μὲν τῶν Πελοποννησιακῶν γέγονεν, ὡς τύπῳ εἰπεῖν, ὀλυμπιάδι οζ#, ἐβίω δὲ ἔτη π#, εἶτα ἀλογίᾳ, μᾶλλον δὲ ἀπονοίᾳ τῶν Ἀθηναίων βιασθεὶς πιεῖν κώνειον ἀπέθανεν, ἔγγραφον οὐδὲν καταλιπὼν ἤ, ὥς τινες βούλονται, ὕμνον εἰς Ἀπόλλωνα καὶ Ἄρτεμιν, καὶ μῦθον Αἰσώπειον δι' ἐπῶν. φιλοσόφους δὲ εἰργάσατο Πλάτωνα, ὃς καταλιπὼν τὸ Λύκειον, τόπος δὲ οὗτος Ἀθηνῶν, μετήγαγε τὴν σχολὴν ἐν προαστείῳ, τῇ Ἀκαδημίᾳ προσαγορευομένῃ, καὶ οἱ ἀπ' αὐτοῦ Ἀκαδημαϊκοὶ προσηγορεύθησαν μέχρι Ἀριστοτέλους: αὐτὸς γὰρ ἀκροατὴς τοῦ Πλάτωνος γενόμενος, εἰς κῆπόν τινα πρὸ τῆς πόλεως τὰς διατριβὰς ποιησάμενος ἐκ τοῦ κατ' αὐτὸν περιπάτου Περιπατητικοὺς ὠνόμασε τοὺς ἀπ' αὐτοῦ: καὶ Ἀρίστιππον Κυρηναῖον, ὃς ἰδίαν αἵρεσιν εἰσήγαγε καὶ σχολὴν συνεστήσατο, τὴν Κυρηναϊκὴν κληθεῖσαν: Φαίδωνα Ἠλεῖον, καὶ αὐτὸν ἰδίαν συστήσαντα σχολήν, τὴν Ἠλειακὴν ἀπ' αὐτοῦ κληθεῖσαν, ὕστερον δὲ αὕτη Ἐρετριακὴ ἐκλήθη, Μενεδήμου εἰς Ἐρετρίαν διδάξαντος: ἐκ τούτου δὲ τοῦ διδασκάλου καὶ ὁ Πύρρων γέγονεν: Ἀντισθένην, ὃς τὴν Κυνικὴν εἰσήγαγεν αἵρεσιν: Εὐκλείδην Μεγαρέα, καὶ αὐτὸν ἰδίαν συστησάμενον σχολήν, ἥτις ἀπ' αὐτοῦ ἐκλήθη Μεγαρική, ἀπὸ δὲ Κλεινομάχου τοῦ μαθητοῦ Εὐκλείδου ἐκλήθη Διαλεκτική: Ξενοφῶντα Γρύλλου, Αἰσχίνην, Λυσανίαν Σφήττιον, Κέβητα Θηβαῖον, Γλαύκωνα Ἀθηναῖον, Βρύσωνα Ἡρακλεώτην: ὃς τὴν ἐριστικὴν διαλεκτικὴν εἰσήγαγε μετὰ Εὐκλείδου, ηὔξησε δὲ Κλεινόμαχος, καὶ πολλῶν δι' αὐτῆς ἐλθόντων, ἔληξεν εἰς Ζήνωνα τὸν Κιτιέα: οὗτος γὰρ ἀπ' αὐτοῦ Στωϊκὴν ἐκ τοῦ τόπου τὴν σχολὴν ὠνόμασε, γεγονὼς ἐπὶ τῆς ρκε# Ὀλυμπιάδος: τινὲς δὲ Βρύσωνα οὐ Σωκράτους, ἀλλ' Εὐκλείδου ἀκροατὴν γράφουσι: τούτου δὲ καὶ Πύρρων ἠκροάσατο, ἀφ' οὗπερ οἱ Πυρρώνειοι προσαγορευόμενοι: Ἀλκιβιάδην, Κριτόβουλον, Ξενομήδην, Ἀπολλόδωρον Ἀθηναίους: ἔτι δὲ Κρίτωνα καὶ Σίμωνα, Εὐμάρη Φιλιάσιον, Σιμμίαν Θηβαῖον, Τερψίωνα Μεγαρικόν, Χαιρεφῶντα. καὶ Θεόδωρος δέ, ὁ ἐπικληθεὶς ἄθεος, αὐτοῦ διήκουσεν: ἀδιαφορίαν δὲ δοξάζων καὶ παραδιδοὺς αἵρεσιν ἰδίαν εὗρεν, ἥτις Θεοδώρειος ἐκλήθη. ταῦτα περὶ Σωκράτους. ὅτι Σωκράτης φιλοσοφήσας ὕστερον Ἀρχελάου τοῦ φυσικοῦ μαθητὴς ἐγένετο: τὴν ἠθικὴν δὲ ἐπρέσβευσε φιλοσοφίαν. ἔσχε δὲ γνωρίμους πολίτας μὲν Πλάτωνα, Ξενοφῶντα, Ἀλκιβιάδην, Κριτίαν, Ἀντισθένην: Θηβαίους δὲ Σιμμίαν καὶ Κέβητα: Κυρηναῖον δὲ Ἀρίστιππον, Φαίδωνα, Εὐκλείδην Μεγαρέα. δαιμόνιον δ' αὐτῷ προσομιλεῖν ἔλεγεν. ἐμάνθανε δὲ καὶ κιθαρίζειν παρὰ Κόνωνι, γέρων ἤδη ὤν: σκωφθεὶς δὲ ὑπὸ Σόλωνος, ὀψιμαθής εἶπε μᾶλλον ἢ ἀμαθής. ἐκ Ξανθίππης δὲ ἔσχε Σωφρονίσκον καὶ Λαμπροκλέα. τῶν νέων δὲ τῶν πλείστων ἐρωτικῶς περὶ αὐτὸν σχόντων, ἐφθονήθη. καὶ πρῶτος Ἀριστοφάνης τὰς Νεφέλας γράψας ἐκωμῴδησεν αὐτὸν ὡς διαφθείροντα τοὺς νέους καὶ ἄθεον, διότι τὸν κύνα καὶ πλάτανον δι' ὑπερβολὴν δεισιδαιμονίας ὤμνυεν: ὕστερον δὲ Ἄνυτος καὶ Μέλητος ἐπὶ τούτοις αὐτὸν ἐγράψαντο καὶ εἷλον: ἐν τῷ τιμήματι δὲ ἑαυτὸν τῆς ἐν τῷ πρυτανείῳ σιτήσεως ἐτιμήσατο, οἱ δὲ θανάτου ἐτίμησαν. ἐδέδετο οὖν ἐπὶ πολύ, μέχρις ἂν ἡ ἀπὸ Δήλου Θεωρὶς ἀφίκηται. καὶ οὐκ ἐξῆν ἀχθείσης, πρὶν ἐπανελθεῖν, ἀναιρεῖσθαί τινα κατὰ δίκην. Κρίτωνος δὲ αὐτῷ φυγὴν συμβουλεύσαντος, οὐκ ἠβουλήθη, τοὺς νόμους εἰπὼν δεῖν μὴ παραβαίνειν. πιὼν δὲ τὸ κώνειον, εὐχῆς ἐπιμνησθείς, θύσατε, ἔφη, τῷ Ἀσκληπιῷ. Κύρσας δέ τις ὄνομα, Χῖος τὸ γένος, ὡς συνεσόμενος ἦλθε Σωκράτει: ᾧ καθευδήσαντι παρὰ τὸν τάφον ὄναρ ὀφθεὶς ὡμίλησεν. ἀπέπλευσε δὲ εὐθὺς ἐκεῖνος, τοῦτο μόνον ἀπολαύσας τοῦ φιλοσόφου.
469-399 BCE. See also sigma 830, and generally Alexander Nehamas in OCD4) s.v. Socrates.
Comparison of similar texts reveals no firm source for the entirety of this material, the closest being Diogenes Laertius' biography in his Lives of the Philosophers (D.L. 2.18-47). Rather than annotate the overwhelming list of names in this entry, I shall comment only on those presenting some problem or question. The rest may be found in OCD4, but for a discussion of the more significant names put into the context of their schools, see the Vander Waerdt anthology in the bibliography below.
[1] No work entitled The Philosophical History is attributed to the third and fourth century CE Neo-Platonist Porphyry. What we now call by that title is Damascius' work formerly called The Life of Isidore. See web address 1 below.
[2] Or perhaps Aristeides' granddaughter. According to the biographers Plutarch (Aristeides 27.3) and Diogenes Laertius (2.26), this story goes back to Aristotle and would make Socrates a bigamist; cf. lambda 377. Plutarch at 27.4 doubts the alleged work of Aristotle is really the philosopher's and refers to a strong refutation of the tale by Panaetius (fr. 132).
[3] The 77th Olympiad is 470-467, much too early for the Peloponnesian War (431-404). Evidently there is some compression or carelessness here, and we should read '[having been born] in the 77th Olympiad.
[4] So the transmitted text, but probably the name Lysanias should be genitive, not accusative, i.e. Aeschines, son of Lysanias, of Sphettos; cf. under alphaiota 346.
[5] With this sentence another source appears to take over, repeating some of the earlier material and adding more.
[6] cf. epsilon 2859.
[7] The name should be Konnos: see Plato, Euthydemus 272C (and cf. kappa 2048?). For the kithara see generally kappa 1590.
[8] Solon, who died in 560/559, could hardly have taunted Socrates, who died in 399. Furthermore, the reproach seems an odd one to attribute to Solon, whose famous verse 'I grow old, constantly learning many things' (fr.18) had wide currency in antiquity.
[9] The notion that Socrates swore by a plane tree derives from a confused memory of the scene in Plato, Phaedrus 236E, where Phaedrus (not Socrates) playfully suggests he will swear by the plane tree growing on the banks of the Ilissus, where they sit for their discussion. Aristophanes does not charge him with this oath in the Clouds. It occurs several times in Plato, e.g. Gorgias 461A and 482B. In the latter instance it is given more fully as 'by the dog, the god of the Egyptians.' Anubis, perhaps?
[10] cf. tau 628.
[11] This term, κύρσας , otherwise appears only as a participle in the Epic language meaning 'having happened upon', but nowhere as a proper name.
Paul A. Vander Waerdt, ed., The Socratic Movement. Cornell University Press, 1994
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: biography; chronology; dialects, grammar, and etymology; dreams; epic; ethics; food; gender and sexuality; geography; history; law; military affairs; meter and music; philosophy; religion; science and technology; trade and manufacture; women
Translated by: Oliver Phillips ✝ on 9 August 2003@18:01:06.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented headword and keywords; added initial note; modified note 3; reversed notes 4 and 5; cosmetics) on 10 August 2003@07:27:42.
David Whitehead (augmented notes; cosmetics) on 11 August 2003@07:03:11.
David Whitehead (x-ref in n.2.) on 27 August 2004@08:04:37.
Catharine Roth (fixed wrong note number, reported by Andrew Smith) on 11 October 2004@00:55:33.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 9 October 2005@08:44:54.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 20 November 2005@09:35:18.
David Whitehead (another note (on Aeschines)) on 14 October 2010@07:51:33.
Catharine Roth (tweaked notes) on 7 December 2013@00:01:09.
Catharine Roth (deleted a link) on 7 December 2013@00:07:02.
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaking; raised status) on 31 December 2013@03:58:03.
David Whitehead on 9 August 2014@11:42:58.
David Whitehead (tweaked tr at one point; another x-ref) on 5 February 2016@04:03:33.


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