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Lecture 2

PHIL101 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Meletus, Anytus, Athenian Democracy

Philosophy at St Joseph's College
Course Code
Marie- Eve Morin

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September 11, 2017 (Monday)
Lecture 2
The Apology of Socrates
Background Athens in the 5th century BCE;
- Athens was a democracy (Athenian Democracy)
- No authority in Athens higher than the people
-Three main bodies
- Public assembly (any male citizen over 20, normally ~ 6000 people)
- Council (500 people)
- These people change every year and rotate who is in charge every month.
Everyday the people come is different. Everyone has a chance to participate in
the offices.
- People’s court (501 jurors) (this is what Socrates was talking in front of)
-Direct Democracy
- Not representative.
- All the citizens go to talk about political matters. No political parties, no
- Anybody can initiate a public lawsuit (prosecutor = chief witness)
- No judge, no appellate court, all trials last one day. (no lawyers either)
Peloponnesian War (431-404 BCE)
- This war was before the trial of Socrates
- War between Athens (democracy) and Sparta (tyranny)
- Athens, the strongest city-state in Greece is almost completly devastated and
subjected to Spartan Rule
- In 404, New pro-Spartan government in Athens (thirty tyrants)
- In 403, democracy is reinstated in Athens (coup)
It was difficult for the democracy to work. People questioned the autortiy of the people
Two episodes related in the Apology (32b-e)
- Trial of the generals (in 406 BCE)
- Condemned to death the 10 top generals in the middle of the war, because of the
emotions of the people.
- The thirty try to implicate Socrates in their crimes
- Socrates Says that he is lucky for not being condemned before based on his
actions from the past
The Sophists
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