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Lampooned in 406 B.C.E. in a blistering Aristophanic satire, Socrates was tried in 399 B.C.E. on a charge of corrupting the youth, convicted by a jury of about five hundred of his peers, and condemned to death. Glimpsed today through the extant writings of his contemporaries and near-contemporaries, he remains for us as compelling, enigmatic, and elusive a figure as Jesus or Buddha. Although present-day (like ancient Greek) opinion on "the real Socrates" diverges widely, six classic texts that any informed judgment of him must take into account appear together, for the first time, in this volume. Those of Plato and Xenophon appear in new, previously unpublished translations that combine accuracy, accessibility, and readability; that of Aristophanes' Clouds offers these same qualities in an unbowdlerized translation that captures brilliantly the bite of Aristophanes' wit. An Introduction to each text and judicious footnotes provide crucial background information and important cross-references.
"As good an introduction to the basic texts and to the historical and philosophical issues surrounding [Socrates] as can be provided today."
—John Bulwer, The Joint Association of Classical Teachers Review
"An excellent production; good, readable translations; helpful and reliable, but not intrusive supplementary material; and a very useful selection of texts."
—Margaret Graver, Dartmouth College
"In virtue of their exceptional accuracy, neutrality, and readability, Reeve's translations of the Platonic texts in The Trials of Socrates are recommended (especially for the Greekless undergraduate) as a significant improvement over their predecessors."
—Vernon Provencal, Mouseion
"The most readable translations of Plato and Aristophanes I've ever read. My students at Sierra College really enjoyed this book. One student corrected (correctly!) my lecture presentation citing one of Reeve's excellent footnote annotations from the Apology. Kudos to Professor Reeve for a great edition."
—Albery Cinelli, Sierra College
"Reeve's translation of Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, and the death scene from the Phaedo is careful and reliable; it captures the sense of the Greek in clear and idiomatic English."
—Terence Irwin, Susan Linn Sage Professor of Philosophy, Cornell University
"Peter Meineck has produced a lively, idiomatic translation of Aristophanes that should be eminently accessible to the modern student. With a fine ear trained by years of practical experience as Director of the award-winning Aquila Theatre Company, Meineck knows exactly what works on stage before a contemporary audience, yet sacrifices none of the allusive subtlety and satirical vigor of the play in its original context."
—Thomas K. Hubbard, Professor of Classics, University of Texas, Austin
C. D. C. Reeve is Professor of Philosophy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
PLATO: Introduction; Euthyphro; Apology; Crito; Phaedo (death scene) [trans. C. D. C. Reeve].
ARISTOPHANES: Introduction; Cast of Characters: Clouds; Clouds [trans. Peter Meineck].
XENOPHON: Introduction; Apology of Socrates [trans. James A. Doyle].