Chapter

Conclusion: Socrates, Pericles, and the Citizen

Loren J. Samons II

in What's Wrong with Democracy?

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2004 | ISBN: 9780520236608
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520940901 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520236608.003.0009
Conclusion: Socrates, Pericles, and the Citizen

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This book addresses two of the most well-known ancient characterizations of Athenian democracy and society, namely, Pericles' Funeral Oration and Plato's Apology of Socrates. The text of Pericles may largely reflect only what Thucydides thought Pericles said or could have said, and Plato's version of Socrates' defense speech also demands a critical approach. Pericles has come to represent ideals of Athenian democracy and humanism, and the phrase “Periclean Athens” immediately brings to mind literature and architecture, rather than war and imperialism. Socrates makes it clear that there is a higher authority even than the law. Both Socrates and Pericles seem to have subordinated personal gain to their own ideas about justice and public service. They show that a society that does not venerate diversity may nonetheless produce radically diverse ideas. Like Pericles' actions, Socrates' own life and teachings have perhaps had a different effect than the philosopher intended.

Keywords: Pericles; citizen; Funeral Oration; Apology of Socrates; Plato; Athenian democracy; Athens

Chapter.  7299 words. 

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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