The Memorable Thoughts of Socrates eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 214 pages of information about The Memorable Thoughts of Socrates.
formerly he was.  Therefore, in my opinion, if he had been treated according to his merit, they should have decreed him public honours rather than have condemned him to an infamous death.  For against whom have the laws ordained the punishment of death?  Is it not for thieves, for robbers, for men guilty of sacrilege, for those who sell persons that are free?  But where, in all the world, can we find a man more innocent of all those crimes than Socrates?  Can it be said of him that he ever held correspondence with the enemy, that he ever fomented any sedition, that he ever was the cause of a rebellion, or any other the like mischiefs?  Can any man lay to his charge that he ever detained his estate, or did him or it the least injury?  Was he ever so much as suspected of any of these things?  How then is it possible he should be guilty of the crimes of which he was accused; since, instead of not believing in the gods, as the accuser says, it is manifest he was a sincere adorer of them?  Instead of corrupting the youth, as he further alleges against him, he made it his chief care to deliver his friends from the power of every guilty passion, and to inspire them with an ardent love for virtue, the glory, the ornament, and felicity of families as well as of states?  And this being fact (and fact it is, for who can deny it?), is it not certain that the Republic was extremely obliged to him, and that she ought to have paid him the highest honours?


Having, therefore, observed myself that all who frequented him improved themselves very much in his conversation, because he instructed them no less by his example than by his discourses, I am resolved to set down, in this work, all that I can recollect both of his actions and words.

First, then, as to what relates to the service of the gods, he strictly conformed to the advice of the oracle, who never gives any other answer to those who inquire of him in what manner they ought to sacrifice to the gods, or what honours they ought to render to the dead, than that everyone should observe the customs of his own country.  Thus in all the acts of religious worship Socrates took particular care to do nothing contrary to the custom of the Republic, and advised his friends to make that the rule of their devotion to the gods, alleging it to be an argument of superstition and vanity to dissent from the established worship.

When he prayed to the gods he besought them only to give him what is good, because they know better than we do what things are truly good for us; and he said that men who pray for silver, or for gold, or for the sovereign authority, made as foolish requests as if they prayed that they might play or fight, or desired any other thing whose event is uncertain, and that might be likely to turn to their disadvantage.

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The Memorable Thoughts of Socrates from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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