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improper ? I should say I do not blame them. But do


you blame those laws concerning the nurture and education
of children in which you were yourself instructed ? Or did
not the laws framed for this purpose order in a becoming
manner when they commanded your father to instruct you
in music and gymnastic ? 1 should say they ordered well.
Since then we begot and nourished and educated you, can
you deny that both you and your progenitors are our
offspring and servants ? And if this be the case, do you
think that there is an equality^ of justice between us and
you, and that it is just for you to attempt to do those
things to us which we endeavour to do to you ? Or will
you admit that there is no equality of justice between you
and your father, or master, if you happen to have either of
them, so that you are not to return to these any evil you
may suffer from them, nor, when they reproach you,
contradict them, nor, when they strike you, strike them
again, nor do many other things of a similar nature; but
that against your country and the Laws it is lawful for you
to act in this manner, so that if we endeavour to destroy
you, thinking it to be just, you also should endeavour, as
far as you are able, to destroy in return, us the Laws and
your country, and should say that in so doing you act
justly, — you who in reality make virtue the object of your
care? Or, are you so wise as to be ignorant that your
country is more honourable, venerable, and holy than your
mother and father, and all the rest of your progenitors, and
ranks higher both among the gods and among men endued
with intellect? That it is also more necessary for a man
to venerate, obey, and assent to his country, when con-
ducting itself with severity, than to his father? Likewise
that he should be persuaded by it, and do what it orders ?
That he should quietly suffer, if it orders him to suffer?
And that, if it commands him to be beaten, or confined in
bonds, or sends him to battle to be wounded or slain, he
should do these things, and that it is just to comply ? And

^ Wholes in the order of nature are more excellent than parts ; and
in consequence of this, as being more honourable, there is no recipro-
city of obligation between the two. — Taylor.


that he should neither dechne nor recede from nor desert
his rank ; but in war, in a court of justice, and everywhere,
the commands of the city and his country should be
obeyed ; or he should persuade his country to that which
is naturally just ; but that it is not holy to offer violence
either to a mother or a father, and much less to one's
country ? — What shall we say to these things, Crito ? Shall
we acknowledge that the Laws speak the truth or not?

C?'i. To me it appears that they do.

Soc. Consider, therefore, O Socrates, perhaps the Laws
will say, whether our assertion is true, that your present
attempt against uS is unjust. For we are the authors of
your birth, we nourished, we educated you, imparting both
to you and all the other citizens all the good in our power,
at the same time proclaiming that every Athenian who is
willing has the liberty of departing wherever he pleases,
with all his property, if after having explored and seen the
affairs of the city, and us the Laws, we should not be
constituted according to his wishes. Nor does any one of
us the Laws impede or forbid any one of you from
migrating into some colony, or any other place, with all his
property, if we and the city do not please him. But, on
the other hand, if any one of you continues to live here
after he has seen the manner in which we administer justice,
and govern the city in other particulars, we now say, that
he in reality acknowledges to us, that he will do such
things as we may command. AVe also say, that he who is
not obedient is triply unjust, because he is disobedient to
his begetters, and to those by whom he was educated ; and
because, having promised to be persuaded by us, he is
neither persuaded, nor does he persuade us, if we do any-
thing improperly ; though at the same time we only propose,
and do not fiercely command him to do what we order, but
leave to his choice one of two things, either to persuade
us, or to obey our mandates ; and yet he does neither of

And we say that you also, O Socrates, will be obnoxious
to these crimes if you execute what you intend to do j nor


will you be the least, but the most obnoxious of all the
Athenians. If, therefore, I should ask them the reason
of this, they would perhaps justly reproach me by saying,
that I promised to submit to all these conditions beyond
the rest of the Athenians. For they would say, This, O
Socrates, is a great argument with us, that both we and the
city were pleasing to you ; that you especially of all the
Athenians would never have dwelt in it, if it had not been
particularly agreeable to you. For you never left the city
for any of the public spectacles except once, when you
went to the Isthmian games, nor did you ever go elsewhere,
except in your military expeditions. You never went any
other journey like other men ; nor had you ever any desire
of seeing any other city, or becoming acquainted with any
other laws ; but we and our city were sufficient for you, so
exceedingly were you attached to us, and so much did you
consent to be governed by our mandates. Besides, you
have begotten children in this city, in consequence of being
pleased with it. Further still, in this very judicial process,
you might have been condemned to exile, if you had been
willing, and might then have executed with the consent of
the city what you now attempt without it. Then however
you carried yourself loftily, as one who would not be indig-
nant, if it were requisite that you should die; but you
preferred, as you said, death to exile. But now you are
neither ashamed of those assertions, nor do you revere us
the Laws, since you endeavour to destroy us. You also do
that which the most vile slave would do, by endeavouring
to make your escape contrary to the compacts and agree-
ments according to which you consented to become a
member of this community. In the first place, therefore,
answer us this very thing, whether we speak the truth in
asserting that you consented to be governed by us in
reality, and not merely in words ? Do we in asserting this
speak the truth ? What shall we say to these things, Crito ?
Can we say anything else than that we assent to them ?

Cri. It is necessary so to do, Socrates.

Soc, Do you not then, they will say, violate these com-


pacts and agreements between us; which you consented
to neither from necessity nor through deception, nor in
consequence of being compelled to deliberate in a short time;
but during the space of seventy years, in which you might
have departed if you had been dissatisfied with us, and the
compacts had appeared to you to be unjust ? You how-
ever neither preferred Lacedsemon nor Crete, w^iich you
are perpetually saying are governed by good laws, nor any
other city of the Greeks or Barbarians ; but you have been
less out of Athens than the lame and the blind, and other
mutilated persons. So much did the city and we the Laws
please you beyond the rest of the Athenians. For who can
be pleased with a city without the laws ? But now you do not
abide by the compacts. You will however abide by them
if you are persuaded by us, Socrates, and do not become
ridiculous by escaping from the city.

For consider what advantage can be derived either to
yourself or your friends by violating those compacts. For
in consequence of your escaping from hence, it is nearly
evident that your friends will be exposed to the danger
either of banishment, or of the loss of their property. And
as for yourself, if you retire to any neighbouring city,
whether Thebes or Megara (for both are governed by good
laws), you will be considered, Socrates, as an enemy to
their polity. And such as have any regard for their coun-
try will look upon you as a corrupter of the laws. You
will also confirm them in their good opinion of your judges,
who will appear to have very properly condemned you.
For he who is a corrupter of the laws will very much appear
to be a corrupter of youth and of stupid men. Will you
then avoid these well-governed cities, and men of the
highest character ? Supposing you should, will it then be
worth while for you to live ? Or, should you go to these
cities, will you not blush, Socrates, to discourse about the
same things as you did here — viz., that virtue and justice,
institutes, and the laws, should be objects of the greatest
attention to men ? And do you not think that this con-
duct of Socrates would be very indecorous ? You mubt


necessarily think so. But perhaps, avoiding these cities,
you will go to Thessaly, to the guests of Crito. For there
there is the greatest disorder and intemperance. And
perhaps they will willingly hear you relating how ridicu-
lously you ran away from prison, providing yourself with
some device, such as a peasant's leathern dress, or something
else which those that make their escape are accustomed to
provide, and thus altering yoiir usual appearance.

Do you think no one will say, that you, though an old
man, and likely to live but a very little longer, have dared
to desire life with such sordid aviditv, and to transfiress the
greatest laws ? Perhaps not, if you take care to offend no
man. But if you should, you will hear, Socrates, many
I things unworthy of you. You will live, and in subjection to
^^ ' all men. But what will you do in Tliessaly besides feast-
ing ? having come to Thessaly as to a supper. And where
shall we find those discourses concerning justice, and the
other virtues } — But do you wish to live for the sake of your
children, that you may nurture and instruct them ? What
then ? Bringing them to Thessaly, will you there educate
them, making them foreigners to Athens, that they may also
derive this advantage from you ? Or, if you should not do
this, but should leave them here, will they be better nur-
tured and educated because you are alive ? Your friends
will take care of them ; but do you suppose that your
children will be taken care of by your friends if you go to
Thessaly, and that they will be neglected by them if you
depart to Hades ? If indeed any advantage is to be
derived from those that call themselves your friends, it is
proper to think that they will not.

But, O Socrates, being persuaded by us your nurses,
neither pay more attention to your children, nor to life, nor
to anything else than to justice, that, when you arrive at
Hades, you may be able to defend all these particulars to
the rulers there. For if, transgressing the laws, you should
thus act, it will neither be better, nor more just, nor more
holy to yourself, nor to any one of your friends ; nor will it
be more advantageous to you when you arrive at Hades.


But you will depart, if you do depart, suffering, not doing
wrong, and that not from us the Laws, but from men. If,
however, you should so disgracefully escape, returning
injury for injury, and evil for evil, transgressing your agree-
ments and compacts with us, and injuring those whom you
ought not to injure in the smallest degree — viz., yourself,
your friends, your country, and us ; — in this case, we shall
be wroth with you as long as you live ; and in another life,
our brothers the Laws who reside in Hades will not
receive you graciously ; knowing that you attempted, as far
as you were able, to destroy us. Let not Crito, therefore,
rather than us, persuade you to do what he says.

Be well assured, my dear friend Crito, that I seem to hear
this voice of the Laws, just as those who are agitated with
corybantic fury think they hear the melody of pipes. And
the sound of these words, like a humming in my ears,
renders me incapable of hearing anything else. You see
then what appears to me at present ; and if you should say
anything contrary to these things, you will speak in vain.
At the same time, if you think it right to do anything more,
then speak.

Cri. But, Socrates, I have nothing further to say.

Soc. Desist, therefore, Crito, and let us do thus since
thus Divinity will have us act.







The Gaoler.

Echecrates. Were you present, Phaedo, with Socrates
that day when he drank the poison in prison ? or did you
hear an account of it from any other ?

Phaedo. I myself, Echecrates, was present.

Echec. What then was his discourse previous to his
death ? and how did he die ? for I should be very glad to
hear the account : for scarcely does any one of the Phliasian^
citizens now visit Athens ; and it is some time since any
stranger has arrived from thence who might afford us some
clear information about these particulars. All indeed that
we heard was, that he died through drinking the poison ;
but he who acquainted us with this had nothing further to
say about other particulars of his death.

Fhaed. What! did you not hear the manner in which
he was tried ?

Echec. Yes : a certain person related this to us ; and we
wondered, as his sentence was passed so long ago, that he
should not die till a considerable time after. ^V'hat, thtn,
Phaedo, was the reason of this ?

Fhaed. A certain fortune happened to him, Echecrates :
for, the day before his trial, the stern of that ship was
crowned which the Athenians send every year to Delos.

^ Phlius was a city of Peloponnesus situated not far from the Isthmus.
Vide Strab , lib viii. , Pausan. in Corinth, et Stcph. de Uib. et fop.


Echec. But what is the meaning of this ?
Phaed. This is the ship, as the Athenians say, in which
Theseus formerly carried the twice seven young children^
to Crete, and saved both them and himself. The Athenians,
therefore, as it is reported, then vowed to Apollo, that if
the children were preserved, they would send every year a
sacred embassy to Delos; which, from that time, they
regularly send every year to the God. As soon, therefore,
as the preparations for the sacred spectacle commence, the
law orders that the city shall be purified, and that no one
shall be put to death by a public decree till the ship has
arrived at Delos, and again returned to Athens. But this
sometimes takes a long time in accomplishing, when the
winds impede their passage; but the festival itself com-
mences when the priest of Apollo has crowned the stern of
the ship. Now this, as I told you, took place on the day
preceding the trial ; and on this account that length of time
happened to Socrates in prison between his sentence and
his death.

Echec. And what, Phaedo, were the circumstances re-
specting his death ? what were his sayings and actions ?
and who of his familiars were present with him ? or would
not the magistrates suffer that any should be admitted
to him, so that he died deprived of the presence of his
friends ?

Phaed. By no means ; but some, and indeed many,
were present with him.

Echec. Endeavour to relate all these particulars to us in
the clearest manner, unless you have some business which
may prevent you.

Phaed. But 1 am at leisure, and will endeavour to gratify
your request : for indeed to call to mind Socrates, whether
I myself speak or hear others, is to me always the most
pleasant of all things.

Ecliec. Truly, Phaedo, others who hear you will be
aifected in the same manner : but endeavour, as much as

^ The tribute of victims for the Minotaur, u hich Theseus slew.


you arc able, to narrate every circumstance in the most
accurate manner.

FJiaed. And indeed I myself, who was present, was
wonderfully affected ; for I was not influenced with pity,
like one present at the death of a familiar : for this man, O
Echecrates, appeared to me to be blessed, when I con-
sidered his manner and discourses, and his intrepid and
generous death. Hence it appeared to me, that he did
not descend to Hades without a divine destiny, but that
there also he would be in a happy condition, if ever
man was. On this account I was entirely uninfluenced
with pity, though apparently I ought not to have been, on
so mournful an occasion ; nor yet again was I influenced by
pleasure through philosophical converse, as I used to be :
for our discourses were of this kind. But, to speak ingenu-
ously, a certain wonderful passion, and an unusual mixture
of pleasure and grief, were present with me, produced by
considering that he must in a very short time die. And,
indeed, all of us who were present were nearly affected in
the same manner, at one time laughing, and at another
weeping : but this was eminently the case with one of us,
Apollodorus; for you know the man, and his manner of

Echec. How is it possible that I should not ?

Phaed. He was remarkably affected in this manner; and I
myself, and others, experienced great trouble and confusion.

Echec. Who then, Phaedo, happened to be present ?

Phaed. Of native Athenians, ApoUodorus, Critobulus,
and his father Crito were present ; likewise Hermogenes,
Epigenes, ^schines, and Antisthenes.^ And besides
these, Ctesippus the Paianian, Menexenus, and some other
Athenians were present : but Plato I think was sick.

Echec. Were there no strangers ?

Phaed. Yes : Simmias the Theban, Cebes,^ and

^ This Antisthenes, as principally imitating Socrates in his endurance
and contempt of pleasure, was the author of the Cynic sect, and the
preceptor oi Diogenes.

'-^ This Cebes is the author of the allegorical table now extant.


Phsedondes ; and among the Megarensians, Euclid and

Echec. But what ! were not Aristippus^andCleombrotus
there ?

Fhaed. By no means : for they were said to be at ^gina.

Echec. Was any other person present ?

Fhaed. I think those I have mentioned were nearly all.

Echec. Will you now then relate what were his discourses?

Fhaed. I will endeavour to relate the whole to you from
the beginning. For we were always accustomed to visit
Socrates, myself and others meeting in the morning at the
place where he was tried, for it was very near to the prison.
Here we waited every day till the prison was opened, dis-
coursing among ourselves, fcr it was not opened very early
in the morning ; but, as soon as we could be admitted, we
went to Socrates, and generally spent the whole day with
him. And then, indeed, w^e met together sooner than
usual ; for the day before, when we left the prison, we
heard that the ship from Delos was returned. We deter-
mined, therefore, among ourselves, to come very early in
the morning to the usual place; and we met together
accordingly : but when we arrived, the gaoler who used to
attend upon us, told us to wait, and not enter till he called
us. For, says he, the eleven magistrates are now freeing
Socrates from his bonds, and announcing to him that he
must die to-day. But not long after this he returned, and
ordered us to enter. When we entered, we found Socrates
just freed from his fetters, but Xantippe (you know her)
holding one of his children, and sitting by him. As soon,
therefore, as Xantippe saw us, she began to lament in a most

1 A philosopher of Cyrenc, and founder of the Cyrenaic sect. What
is here said concerning the absence of Arislippus and Clcomhrotus is
well explained by Demetrius in hhhook ire pi Y^pfx-qv da's. "Plato, he
observes, says this in order to reprove Aristippus and Cleombrotus, who
were feasting in /Egina at the time that Socrates was in prison, and did
not sail to see their friend and master, though they were then at the
entrance of the Athenian harbour. IMato, however, does not clearly
relate these particulars, because his narration would have been an open
defamation. " — Taylor.


violent manner, and said such things as are usual with
women in affliction ; and among the rest, Socrates, says she,
this is the last time your friends will speak to you, or you to
them. But Socrates looking upon Crito, Crito, says he, let
some one take her home. Upon which some of Crito's
domestics led her away, beating herself, and weeping
bitterly. But Socrates, sitting upright on the bed, drew up
his leg, and rubbing it with his hand, said at the same time,
What a wonderful thing is this, my friends, which men call
ihepleasajit and a^^reeadle / and how admirably is it affected
by nature towards that which appears to be its contrary, the
painful I for they are unwilling to be present with us both
together ; and yet, if any person pursues and receives the
one, he is almost under a necessity of receiving the other,
as if they were two bodies with a single head. And it seems
to me, says he, that if ^sop had perceived this he would
have composed a fable from it, and would have informed
us, that Divinity, being willing to reconcile contending
natures, but not being able to accomplish this design, con-
joined their summits in a nature one and the same ; and
that hence it comes to pass, that whoever partakes of the
one is soon after connected with the other. And this, as it
appears, is the case with myself at present ; for the pain
which was before in my leg, through the bond, is now
succeeded by a pleasant sensation.

But here Cebes replying, said. By Zeus, Socrates, you
have very opportunely caused me to recollect : for certain
persons have asked me concerning those poems which you
composed — viz., the Fables of yEsop which you versified,
and your exordium to Apollo, and other pieces of com-
position ; and, among the rest, Evenus lately inquired with
what design you did this after coming here, when before
you have never attempted anything of the kind. If, there-
fore, you have any desire that I may have an answer ready
for Evenus, when he again interrogates me on this occasion
(and I am certain that he will do so), tell me what I must
say to him. You may truly inform him, says he, Cebes,
that I did not compose these verses with any design of


rivalling him, or his poems (for I knew that this would be
no easy matter) ; but that I might try to explore the
meaning of certain dreams, and that 1 migiit fulfil my
religious obligation, if this should happen to be the music
which they have often ordered me to exercise. For in the
past part of my life the same dream has often occurred to
me, exhibiting at different times a different appearance, yet
always advising me the same thing ; for it said, Socrates,
make and exercise music. And indeed, in the former part
of my life, I considered that this dream persuaded and
exhorted me respecting the very thing I was doing, in the
same manner as runners in the races are exhorted; for, by
persuading me to exercise music, it signified that I should
labour in philosophy, which is the greatest music. But now
since my sentence has taken place, and the festival of the
God has retarded my death, it appeared to me to be
necessary that, if the music which the dream has so often
exhorted me to undertake should happen to be of the
ordinary sort, I should by no means resist its persuasions,
but comply with the exhortation : for I considered that it
would be more safe for me not to depart from hence before
I had cleared myself by composing verses, and obeying the
dream. Thus, in the first place, I composed some verses in
honour of the God to whom the present festival belongs ;
but after the God, considering it necessary that he who
designs to be a poet should make fables and not discourses,
and knowing that I myself was not a mythologist, on these
accounts I versified the fables of ^sop, which were at
hand, and were known to me ; and began with those first
that first presented themselves to my view. Give this
answer, Cebes, to Evenus : at the same time bid him
farewell for me ; and tell him, if he is wise he will follow
me. But I shall depart, as it seems, to-day; for such are
the orders of the Athenians.

Upon this Simmias replied, What is this, Socrates, which
you command me to tell Evenus? for I often meet with
him; and from what I know of him, I am certain that he
will never willingly comply with your request.


What, then, says Socrates, is not Evenus a philosopher?

To me he appears to be so, says Siramias.

Both Evenus, therefore, will be willing to follow me, and
every one who is worthy to partake of philosophy ; not
perhaps indeed by violently depriving himself of life, for

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