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Memories of Socrates: Memorabilia and Apology
Memories of Socrates: Memorabilia and Apology
  • Presents a readable and lively translation, preserving the literary qualities of Xenophon's original text and its philosophical and historical content
  • Carol Atack's introduction places Xenophon's thought in its historical and intellectual context in fourth-century BCE Athens
  • Notes explain historical characters and detail Xenophon's engagements with Plato's dialogues and philosophical concerns

'Who would you say knows himself?'
In 399 BCE Socrates was tried in Athens on charges of irreligion and corruption of the young, convicted, and sentenced to death. Like Plato, an almost exact contemporary, in his youth Xenophon (c. 430-c. 354 BCE) was one of the circle of mainly upper-class young Athenians attracted to Socrates' teaching. His Memorabilia is both a passionate defence of Socrates against those charges, and a kaleidoscopic picture of the man he knew, painted in a series of mini-dialogues and shorter vignettes, with a varied and deftly characterized cast—entitled and ambitious young men, atheists and hedonists, artists and artisans, Socrates' own stroppy teenage son Lamprocles, the glamorous courtesan Theodote. Topics given Socrates' characteristic questioning treatment include education, law, justice, government, political and military leadership, democracy and tyranny, friendship, care of the body and the soul, and concepts of the divine. Xenophon sees Socrates as above all a supreme moral educator, coaxing and challenging his associates to make themselves better people, not least by the example of how he lived his own life. Self-knowledge, leading to a reasoned self-control, was for Socrates the essential first step on the path to virtue, and some found it uncomfortable. The Apology is a moving account of Socrates' behaviour and bearing in his last days, immediately before, during, and after his trial.


Note on the Greek Texts
Select Bibliography
Book 1
Book 2
Book 3
Book 4
Explanatory Notes
Glossary of Greek Terms

About the author: 

Martin Hammond and Carol Atack, Fellow and Director of Studies, Newnham College, Cambridge
Martin Hammond was born in 1944 and educated at Winchester College and Balliol College, Oxford. He has taught at St Paul's School, Harrow School, and Eton College, where he was Head of Classics from 1974 to 1980, and Master in College from 1980 to 1984. He was Headmaster of the City of London School from 1984 to 1990, and of Tonbridge School from 1990 to his retirement in 2005. He is the translator of Artemidorus' The Interpretation of Dreams (Oxford World's Classics, 2020).
Carol Atack is a fellow and director of studies in Classics at Newnham College, Cambridge. She completed her PhD, on kingship in classical Greek political thought, at Cambridge in 2014, and also holds undergraduate degrees in Classics (Cambridge) and Politics (London School of Economics). She previously held teaching positions at St Hugh's College, Oxford, and the University of Warwick, and research positions at Oxford, on the Anachronism and Antiquity Project, and Cambridge, working on the Oxford History of the Archaic Greek World.

Product details

ISBN : 9780198856092

Xenophone; Martin Hammond; Carol Atack
304 Pages
130 x 197 mm
Pub date
Mar 2023
Oxford World's Classics
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Memories of Socrates: Memorabilia and Apology

Memories of Socrates: Memorabilia and Apology

Memories of Socrates: Memorabilia and Apology