Apology HTML version

And first, I have to reply to the older charges and to my
first accusers, and then I will go to the later ones. For I have
had many accusers, who accused me of old, and their false
charges have continued during many years; and I am more
afraid of them than of Anytus and his associates, who are
dangerous, too, in their own way. But far more dangerous
are these, who began when you were children, and took
possession of your minds with their falsehoods, telling of
one Socrates, a wise man, who speculated about the heaven
above, and searched into the earth beneath, and made the
worse appear the better cause. These are the accusers whom
I dread; for they are the circulators of this rumor, and their
hearers are too apt to fancy that speculators of this sort do
not believe in the gods. And they are many, and their charges
against me are of ancient date, and they made them in days
when you were impressible - in childhood, or perhaps in
youth - and the cause when heard went by default, for there
was none to answer. And, hardest of all, their names I do
not know and cannot tell; unless in the chance of a comic
poet. But the main body of these slanderers who from envy
and malice have wrought upon you - and there are some of
them who are convinced themselves, and impart their con-
victions to others - all these, I say, are most difficult to deal
with; for I cannot have them up here, and examine them,
and therefore I must simply fight with shadows in my own
defence, and examine when there is no one who answers. I
will ask you then to assume with me, as I was saying, that
my opponents are of two kinds - one recent, the other an-
cient; and I hope that you will see the propriety of my an-
swering the latter first, for these accusations you heard long
before the others, and much oftener.
Well, then, I will make my defence, and I will endeavor in
the short time which is allowed to do away with this evil
opinion of me which you have held for such a long time; and
I hope I may succeed, if this be well for you and me, and
that my words may find favor with you. But I know that to
accomplish this is not easy - I quite see the nature of the
task. Let the event be as God wills: in obedience to the law
I make my defence.
I will begin at the beginning, and ask what the accusa-
tion is which has given rise to this slander of me, and which
has encouraged Meletus to proceed against me. What do the
slanderers say? They shall be my prosecutors, and I will sum
up their words in an affidavit. “Socrates is an evil-doer, and
a curious person, who searches into things under the earth
and in heaven, and he makes the worse appear the better