“The Apology of Socrates” by Xenophon

Compared to the Socrates of Plato, a dialectician with irony and inwardness, Xenophon’s Socrates is more of a rhetorician, direct and assertive. Nevertheless, their respective accounts of the trial and death of Socrates create a compelling and lasting image of their master, whom I would consider myself fortunate to meet.

Socrates’ Self-Approval

Who is there in your knowledge that is less a slave to his bodily appetites than I am? Who in the world more free,—for I accept neither gifts nor pay from any one? Whom would you with reason regard as more just than the one so reconciled to his present possessions as to want nothing beside that belongs to another? And would not a person with good reason call me a wise man, who from the time when I began to understand spoken words have never left off seeking after and learning every good thing that I could? And that my labour has not been in vain do you not think is attested by this fact, that many of my fellow-citizens who strive for virtue and many from abroad choose to associate with me above all other men?

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