Euthyphro
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1. Porch of the King Archon

2a -3e

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2a

Euthyphro. Why have you left the lyceum, Socrates?

Jowett's Notes

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The Royal Stoa in the Agora
Full View of Athens (207K)
Artist: Ru Dien-Jen

and what are you doing Euthyphro and Socrates meet at the Porch of the King Archon.   Both have legal business on hand.
in the Porch of the King
Archon? Surely you
cannot be concerned in
a suit before the king,
like myself?
 
 
Socrates. Not in a suit, Euthyphro; impeachment is the word  
which the Athenians use.  

 

2b

Euth. What! I suppose that some one has been prosecuting  
you, for I cannot believe that you are the prosecutor of  
another.  

 
Soc. Certainly not.  

 
Euth. Then some one else has been prosecuting you?  

 
Soc. Yes.  

 
Euth. And who is he?  

 
Soc. A young man who is little known, Euthyphro; and I  
hardly know him: his name is Meletus, and he is of the deme of  
Pitthis. Perhaps you may remember his appearance; he has a  
beak, and long straight hair, and a beard which is ill grown.  

 

2c

Euth. No, I do not remember him, Socrates. But what is the  
charge which he brings against you?  

 
Soc. What is the charge? Well, a very serious charge, which

Meletus has brought a charge against Socrates.

shows a good deal of character in the young man, and for
which he is certainly not to be despised. He says he knows
how the youth are corrupted and who are their corruptors. I
fancy that he must be a wise man, and seeing that I am the  
reverse of a wise man, he has found me out, and is going to  
accuse me of corrupting his young friends. And of this our  
mother the State is to be the judge. Of all our political men he  

2d

is the only one who seems to me to begin in the right way,  
with the cultivation of virtue in youth; like a good  
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Picture: Ruins of the Royal Stoa
1995 Kevin T. Glowacki and Nancy L. Klein
The Ancient City of Athens

husbandman, he makes the  
young shoots his first care,  
and clears away us who   
are the destroyers of them.  
This is only the first step;  
he will afterwards attend to  
the elder branches; and if he goes on as he has begun, he will  

3a

be a very great public benefactor.  

 
Euth. I hope that he may; but I rather fear, Socrates, that the  
opposite will turn out to be the truth. My opinion is that in  
attacking you he is simply aiming a blow at the foundation of  
the State. But in what way does he say that you corrupt the  
young?  

 

3b

Soc. He brings a wonderful accusation against me, which at of  
first hearing excites surprise: he says that I am a poet or maker of  
gods, and that I invent new gods and deny the existence of old  
ones; this is the ground of his indictment.  

 
Euth. I understand, Socrates; he means to attack you about the  
familiar sign which occasionally, as you say, comes to you. He  
the thinks that you are a neologian, and he is going to have  
you up before the court for this. He knows that such a charge  
is readily received by the world, as I myself know too well; for  

3c

when I speak in the assembly about divine things, and foretell  
the future to them, they laugh at me and think me a madman.     
Yet every word that I say is true. But they are jealous of us  
all; and we must be brave and go at them.  

 
Soc. Their laughter, friend Euthyphro, is not a matter of much  
consequence. For a man may be thought wise; but the  
Athenians, I suspect, do not much trouble themselves about  
him until he begins to impart his wisdom to others, and then  
for some reason or other, perhaps, as you say, from jealousy,  
they are angry.  

 

3d

Euth. I am never likely to try their temper in this way.  

 
Soc. I dare say not, for you are reserved in your behaviour,  
and seldom impart your wisdom. But I have a benevolent  
habit of pouring out myself to everybody, and would even pay  
for a listener, and I am afraid that the Athenians may think me  
too talkative. Now if, as I was saying, they would only laugh  
at me, as you say that they laugh at you, the time might pass  

3e

gaily enough in the court; but perhaps they may be in earnest,  
and then what the end will be you soothsayers only can predict.  

 
Euth. I dare say that the affair will end in nothing, Socrates,  
and that you will win your cause; and I think that I shall win  
my own.  

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April 18, 2000