The Ancient Library

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doctrines, and (what from them are termed) "sophistical" argumenta­tions ; according to Grote, they were the regular teachers of Greek mo­rality, neither above nor below the standard of the age. According to the common view, Socrates was the great opponent of the Sophists, and Plato his natural successor in the same combat; according to Grote, So­crates was the great representative of the Sophists, distinguished from them only by his higher eminence, and by the peculiarity of his mode of life and teaching. According to the common view, Plato and his follow­ers were the authorized teachers, the established clergy of the Greek nation, and the Sophists the dissenters ; according to Grote, the Sophists were the established clergy, and Plato was the dissenter—the Socialist, who attacked the Sophists (as he attacked the poets and the statesmen), not as a particular sect, but as one of the existing orders of society.1


I. socrates (2caicpd,T7]s),2 the celebrated Athenian philosopher, was born in the demus of Alopece, in the immediate neighborhood of Athens, B.C. 469. His father, Sophroniscus, was a statuary; his mother, Phsenarete, was a midwife. In his youth he followed the profession of his father, and attained sufficient proficiency to have executed the group of the Graces, clothed in flowing drapery, which was preserved in the Acropolis, and was shown as his work down to the time of Pausanias.3 He did not, however, devote himself to this profession ; he carried it on so far as to earn a decent subsistence from it, but was content to devote the greater part of his time and talents to the study of philosophy, for which he had a strong natural inclination. While still engaged in statuary, and much more so after he had given it up, he spent a great part of his time in read­ing all the accessible works of former and contemporary philosophers. Crito supplied him with money to pay the masters who taught various branches at Athens, and he became an auditor of many of the eminent teachers of the day, though he appears, in truth, to have owed very much to his own habits of study and self-examination.

The personal qualities of Socrates were marked and striking. His phys­ical constitution was healthy, robust, and enduring to an extraordinary degree. He was capable of bearing fatigue or hardship, and indifferent to heat or cold, in a measure which astonished all his companions. He went barefoot in all seasons of the year, even during the winter campaign at Potidsea, under the severe frosts of Thrace ; and the same clothing sufficed for him in winter as well as in summer.4 His forbidding physi­ognomy excited the jests both of his friends and enemies, who inform us that he had a flat nose, thick lips, and prominent eyes, like a satyr or Silenus. To all this was added the protuberance of a FalstafT-stomach, which no necessary hardships, no voluntary exercise could bring down. In his moral character he was most exemplary. In all situations, he ex-

1 Quarterly Review, No. 175, p. 53, note.

2 Smith, Diet. Biogr., s. v.; Penny Cyclop,, xxii., p. 182, seqq.

3 Pausan., ix., 35 ; compare i., 22 ; Diog. Laei't., ii., 19.

4 Plat., Sympos., p. 219, seqq.; Alcib,, p. 194; Diog. Laert., i., 22, seq,

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