Conversations of Socrates (Penguin Classics)
Xenophon, Hugh Tredennick
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After the execution of Socrates in 399 BC, a number of his followers wrote dialogues featuring him as the protagonist and, in so doing, transformed the great philosopher into a legendary figure. Xenophon's portrait is the only one other than Plato's to survive, and while it offers a very personal interpretation of Socratic thought, it also reveals much about the man and his philosophical views. In 'Socrates' Defence' Xenophon defends his mentor against charges of arrogance made at his trial, while the 'Memoirs of Socrates' also starts with an impassioned plea for the rehabilitation of a wronged reputation. Along with 'The Estate-Manager', a practical economic treatise, and 'The Dinner-Party', a sparkling exploration of love, Xenophon's dialogues offer fascinating insights into the Socratic world and into the intellectual atmosphere and daily life of ancient Greece.
investigations led me to the conclusion that this occurs quite naturally: I saw that those who act casually incur losses, while those who work hard and apply themselves act more quickly, more easily and more profitably. Now, suppose you learn from the latter people, if you want; then, in my opinion, provided God does not oppose you, you would become a very good businessman.’ 3 In response, Critobulus said, ‘Now look, I’m not going to let you go, Socrates, until you have demonstrated what you
ashamed to do anything dishonourable, can make them prefer obedience and take pride in it, and1 can make them work at their duties and do so happily. Just as some civilians are innately fond of work, so also a whole army can be imbued by good commanders not only with love of work, but also with the desire to be seen by the commander to be acting with honour. It is leaders whose followers have this attitude towards them who make strong commanders; it is certainly not those soldiers who are
Athens who was the son of the gods Hephaestus and Gaia, and was brought up by Athena. However, there seems to be some confusion with another Erechtheus (see next note), but this second Erechtheus’ birth and upbringing were not at all remarkable. 3. This probably refers to a war against Eleusis, but this is generally thought to have taken place in the time of a different Erechtheus, the grandson of the first. 1. Eurystheus, the king of Argos in the Peloponnese, made war on Athens for
there is. 1. Contrast the extravagant praise of H. G. Dakyns (‘Xenophon’, in E. Abbott (ed.), Hellenica (Rivingtons, 1880), pp. 379–80; see also H. G. Dakyns (trans.), The Works of Xenophon, vol. 3, part 1 (Macmillan, 1897), p. xlix)): ‘It is full of the Xenophontean limpidity, the little bells of alliteration, the graceful antithetic balance; the sweet sounds helping out the healthy sense, as of a fragrant air breathed upon us from fresh and well-worked fields…’ 1. Note again (see pp.
‘say and do what they ought’ (8.23) and inculcate ‘true goodness’ in each other (8.26–27) – though this teaching role is also implied to be chiefly the older partner’s responsibility. Socrates then supports his argument with doubtful mythological and historical precedents and specious etymology (8.28–8.35). Finally (8.39–8.41), he exhorts Callias to make sure that his affair with Auto-lycus is of the kind where Autolycus loves him for his goodness (which in his case is realizable especially in