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Speech III: After the Trial

(13) To the Jurors Who Condemned Him
38d-39e

Not much time will be gained, O Athenians, in return for the

Jowett's Notes

evil name which you will get from the detractors of the city,  
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Juror Ballots: Top (guilty) and Bottom (acquittal)
Artist: Ru Dien-Jen

who will say that you killed They will be accused of killing a wise man.
Socrates,a wise man: for they
will call me wise, even although I  
am not wise, when they want to  
reproach you. If you had waited Why could they not wait a few years?
a little while, your desire would
have been fulfilled in the course  
of nature. For I am far advanced  
in years, as you may perceive,  
and not far from death. I am  
38d speaking now not to all of you but only to those who  
have condemned me to death. And I have another thing  
to say to them: You think that I was convicted because I had  
no words of the sort which would have procured my acquittal -  
I mean, if I had thought fit to leave nothing undone or unsaid.  
Not so; the deficiency which led to my conviction was not of  
words - certainly not. But I had not the boldness or impudence  
or inclination to address you as you would have liked me to  
38e do, weeping and wailing and lamenting, and saying and doing  
many things which you have been accustomed to hear from  
others, and which, as I maintain, are unworthy of me. I  
thought at the time that I ought not to do anything common or  
mean when in danger: nor do I now repent of the style of my  
defence; I would rather die having spoken after my manner,  
39a than speak in your manner and live. For neither in war nor yet  
at law ought I or any man to use every way of escaping death.  
Often in battle there can be no doubt that if a man will throw  
away his arms, and fall on his knees before his pursuers, he  
may escape death; and in other dangers there are other ways of  
escaping death, if a man is willing to say and do anything. The  
difficulty, my friends, is not to avoid death, but to avoid  
unrighteousness; for that runs faster than death. I am old and  
move slowly, and the slower runner has overtaken me, and my  
accusers are keen and quick, and the faster runner, who is  
39b unrighteousness, has overtaken them. And now I depart hence  
condemned by you to suffer the penalty of death, - they too go  
their ways condemned by the truth to suffer the penalty of  
villainy and wrong; and I must abide by my award - let them  
abide by theirs. I suppose that these things may be regarded as  
fated, - and I think that they are well.  

 
39c And now, O men who have condemned me, I would fain you  
prophesy to you; for I am about to die, and in the hour of  
death men are gifted with prophetic power. And I prophesy to  
who are my murderers, that immediately after my departure  
punishment far heavier than you have inflicted on me will  
surely await you. Me you have killed because you wanted to  
escape the accuser, and not to give an account of your lives.  
But that will not be as you suppose: far otherwise. For I say They are about to slay Socrates because he has been their accuser: other accusers will rise up and denounce them more vehemently.
39d that there will be more accusers of you than there are now; be
accusers whom hitherto I have restrained: and as they are
younger they will be more inconsiderate with you, and you will
more offended at them. If you think that by killing men you  
can prevent some one from censuring your evil lives, you are  
mistaken; that is not a way of escape which is either possible  
or honorable; the easiest and the noblest way is not to be  
disabling others, but to be improving yourselves. This is the  
39e prophecy which I utter before my departure to the judges who  
have condemned me.  
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