Lecture 5, Part 2 - Plato and Socratic Law

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Classical Studies
Classical Studies 2301A/B
Randall Pogorzelski

Lecture 5 Part 2Plato and Socratic Law y No doubt my accuser might put me to death or have me banished or deprived of civic rights but even if he thinks as he probably does and others too I dare say that these are great calamities I do not think so I believe that it is far worse to do what he is doing now trying to put a man to death unjustly For this reason gentlemen far from pleading on my own behalf as might be supposed I am really pleading on yours to save you from misusing the gift of God by condemning me Apology 30d page 57 o Impressively arroganto Socrates saying he is gods gift to Athens o As a gift of god he has a divine mission he is told what he is supposed to do and he is above Athenian lawSomething beyond the importance of the lawWhat is the law is not always justWhat the law defines as criminal may not really be criminal y The only office which I have ever held in our city gentlemen was when I served on the Council It so happened that our tribe Antiochis was presiding when you decided that the ten commanders who had failed to rescue the men who were lost in the naval engagement should be tried en bloc which was illegal as you all recognized later On this occasion I was the only member of the executive who opposed your acting in any way unconstitutionally and voted against the proposal and although the public speakers were all ready to denounce and arrest me and you were all urging them on at the top of your voices I thought that it was my duty to face it out on the side of law and justice rather than support you through fear of prison or death in your wrong decision Apology 32bc page 59 o Referring to the Battle of Argonusaeo Athenians won but a storm preventing the admirals from rescuing those on shipwrecks or returning the dead o Assembly voted to try them as a group contrary to Athenian lawSocrates refused to try them as a group had to be deposed so the others could try them as a group o Decided that the law was more important even though before he was saying that the law was not that importanto Constitutional law in Athens that overrides what the Assembly is saying at the moment even if the current government may be against it y This happened while we were still under a democracy When the oligarchy came into power the Thirty Commissioners in their turn summoned me and four others to the Round Chamber and instructed us to go and fetch Leon of Salamis from his home for execution This was of course only one of many instances in which they issued such instructions their object being to implicate as many people as possible in their crimes On this occasion however I again made it clear not by d my words but by my actions that the attention I paid to death was zero if that is not too unrefined a claim but
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