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Lecture 22

CLCIV 101 Lecture Notes - Lecture 22: Eleusinian Mysteries, Secret Ballot, Prytaneis

5 pages83 viewsFall 2016

Classical Civilization
Course Code
Richard Janko

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Lecture 22
1. 399 BCE
a. A jury of 501 Athenians condemns Socrates to death by poison for
i. Believing in gods other than those in whom the city believes in
ii. Corrupting the young
b. BUT socrates never taught for the money, had none
i. Always fought for Athens
ii. Would not break the law or help others to do so
2. Socrates was not a typical sophist despite Aristophanes’ Clouds (423 BCE)
a. Not interested in astronomy or natural science
b. Not a teacher of rhetoric
3. So Why was Socrates condemned?
a. Athens legal system
i. Catch your own criminal
ii. No police force (except Scythian slaves for public order)
iii. No public enforcement
iv. No state prosecutor, only private prosecutors (win reward for
conviction, pay fine for acquittal)
v. No lawyers→ need to represent oneself→ need to research the
laws oneself→ assemble own evidence and witnesses→ might
dress in rags, parade pitiful children
vi. No judges, all trials are by jury
4. Athenian juries
a. Ordinary citizens
b. Very modest pay
c. Often poor, veterans, disabled, retired
d. 6,000 jurors enroll each year
e. Jury selected daily by lottery
f. Juries had up to 501 or 1,001 members
g. All cases last one day
h. Jury had no judge to advise them
5. Athenian trials
a. Equal speeches timed by the water clock
b. Voting by secret ballot
c. No appeal
d. If verdict is guilty, and penalty is not fixed, both sides propose different
penalties; jury votes by scratching long or short lines on voting tablets
e. Death penalty by drinking hemlock
f. Socrates refused offer from a professional speech-writer, made his own
defense without a script
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6. The new education of the later 5th century
a. Presocratic thinkers studied natural science (Anaxagoras)
b. Sophists taught rhetoric (public speaking)
c. Mostly taught aristocrats
d. Aroused popular suspicion
7. Aristophanes’ Clouds 423 BCE
a. Socrates as a typical sophist
b. Studies natural world
c. Teaches for a fee (a stolen cloak)
d. Says Zeus is replaced by a whirl
e. Makes the worse argument the better one→ disrespect for parents and
8. Socrates “star pupils”
a. Alcibiades
i. Great nephew of Pericles
ii. “Parodied the Eleusinian mysteries” in 415 and defected to Sparta
b. Critias
i. Uncle of Plato
ii. His play Sisyphus
1. Idea of gods was invented to stop people doing wrong in
2. Leads oligarchic coup of the 30 Tyrants, 404 BCE
3. Tries to impose Spartan constitution
4. Violent and bloodthirsty
5. Killed in counter-revolution
c. Charmides
i. Also Uncle of Plato
ii. Accused of Parodying the Eleusinian Mysteries, 415 BCE
iii. Among the 30 Tyrants, 404 BCE
iv. Violent and bloodthirsty
v. Killed in counter-revolution
9. A sophist in Politics
a. 411 BCE: antiphon leads bloody oligarchic coup of the Four Hundred; he
is killed in counter-revolution
10. The restored democracy, 403 BCE
a. Amnesty for political crimes
b. No more illegal decrees by the people, like the decree condemning people
to death the admirals who won at Arginusae in 406
c. Socrates was prytanis that say and tried to stop that decree→ he could
not be charged with political crimes→ he is tried because of his “pupils”
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