A Miscarriage of Justice, an Avenging Plague

Scholia on Isokrates, Hypothesis to Oration 11 

“Some search for what the reason is that he did not enter the argument against him clearly, if he would spare his teacher. And we say that it is so that the Athenians would not be angered since they had recently convicted Socrates. Therefore, it seems through this as if he is rebuking them because they convicted him badly.

And, in fact, they did change their mind later on, believing that they had acted impiously in convicting Socrates and they were made a bit wiser to this because of a plague that struck them over the death of Socrates. He died during the archonship of Laches. For this reason they ordered that no one talk about Socrates in public, as in the theater.

This kind of thing is added in addition: Euripides desired to speak about him and even afraid shaped the plot of his Palamedes in order that he might have the chance to talk allegorical about Socrates and the Athenians. In this had had some figure speaking to the Greeks—when it was really Socrates speaking to the Athenians—that you have eliminated, you have eliminated the best of the Greeks,” which means, you murdered him. The whole audience wept together, because it was a coded reference to Socrates.”

ἐζήτησαν δέ τινες διὰ ποίαν αἰτίαν μὴ φανερῶς τὸν κατ’ αὐτοῦ λόγον εἰσῆλθεν, εἴ γε φείδεται τοῦ διδασκάλου. καὶ λέγομεν, ἵνα μὴ ὀργισθῶσιν οἱ Ἀθηναῖοι, ἀρτίως τοῦ Σωκράτους καταψηφισάμενοι. δοκεῖ οὖν διὰ τούτου ὥσπερ ἐλέγχειν αὐτοὺς ὡς κακῶς καταψηφισαμένους.

καὶ γὰρ καὶ αὐτοὶ ὥσπερ μετέγνωσαν ὕστερον,ὅτι ἀσεβῶς ἔπραξαν καταψηφισάμενοι Σωκράτους, εἶτα καὶ σωφρονισθέντες διὰ τοῦ λοιμοῦ τοῦ ἐγκατασκήψαντος αὐτοῖς διὰ τὸν Σωκράτους θάνατον. ἀπέθανε δὲ ἐπὶ Λάχητος ἄρχοντος. ὅθεν λοιπὸν ἐκέλευσαν μηδένα δημοσίᾳ, οἷον ἐν κοινῷ θεάτρῳ, λέγειν περὶ Σωκράτους.

ἀμέλει λέγεταί τι τοιοῦτον, ὡς [ὅτι] τοῦ Εὐριπίδου βουλομένου εἰπεῖν περὶ αὐτοῦ καὶ δεδιότος ἀναπλάσαι τὸ δρᾶμα τὸν Παλαμήδην, ἵνα διὰ τούτου σχοίη καιρὸν τοῦ αἰνίξασθαι εἰς τὸν Σωκράτην καὶ εἰς τοὺς Ἀθηναίους καὶ ποιήσαντός τινα πρὸς τοὺς Ἕλληνας λέγοντα, τὸ δὲ ἀληθὲς πρὸς Ἀθηναίους διὰ Σωκράτην ‘ἐκάνετε, ἐκάνετε τῶν Ἑλλήνων τὸν ἄριστον’, ὅ ἐστιν ἐφονεύσατε. καὶ νοῆσαν τὸ θέατρον ἅπαν ἐδάκρυσε, διότι περὶ Σωκράτους αἰνίττεται.

“The Death of Socrates” by Jacques-Louis David

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