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Classics in ProgressEssays on Ancient Greece and Rome$
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T. P. Wiseman

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780197263235

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197263235.001.0001

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Socrates on trial in the USA

Socrates on trial in the USA

(p.263) 11 Socrates on trial in the USA
Classics in Progress

Malcolm Schofield

British Academy

For the last thirty years or more publications on Socrates have become a major growth industry. Its centre is the USA; and much of it has been occasioned by engagement with the work of Gregory Vlastos, conceivably the single most influential writer on ancient Greek philosophy in the English-speaking world in the twentieth century. A tricky area for US citizens is Socrates' political stance. Probably there would be fairly wide agreement among scholars that the principal motive behind the prosecution which led to Socrates' death in 399 bc was political animus against someone who had had close associations with Critias, leading member of the junta which overthrew the Athenian democracy in 403 bc. The assumption underpinning the formal charges brought against him will have been that Socrates was guilty by association, even if he had not engaged in political activity himself.

Keywords:   Gregory Vlastos, United States, Critias, guilty by association, Socrates's trial

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