Chapter

Socrates on trial in the USA

Malcolm Schofield

in Classics in Progress

Published by British Academy

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780197263235
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734328 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5871/bacad/9780197263235.003.0011

Series: British Academy Centenary Monographs

Socrates on trial in the USA

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For the last thirty years or more publications on Socrates have become a major growth industry. Its centre is the USA; and much of it has been occasioned by engagement with the work of Gregory Vlastos, conceivably the single most influential writer on ancient Greek philosophy in the English-speaking world in the twentieth century. A tricky area for US citizens is Socrates' political stance. Probably there would be fairly wide agreement among scholars that the principal motive behind the prosecution which led to Socrates' death in 399 bc was political animus against someone who had had close associations with Critias, leading member of the junta which overthrew the Athenian democracy in 403 bc. The assumption underpinning the formal charges brought against him will have been that Socrates was guilty by association, even if he had not engaged in political activity himself.

Keywords: Gregory Vlastos; United States; Critias; guilty by association; Socrates's trial

Chapter.  9408 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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