Translated and Annotated by AMY L. BONNETTE
Series: Agora Editions
Copyright Date: 1994
Edition: 1
Published by: Cornell University Press
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    An essential text for understanding Socrates, Xenophon'sMemorabiliais the compelling tribute of an affectionate student to his teacher, providing a rare firsthand account of Socrates' life and philosophy. TheMemorabiliais invaluable both as a work of philosophy in its own right and as a complement to the study of Plato's dialogues. The longest of Xenophon's four Socratic works, it is particularly revealing about the differences between Socrates and his philosophical predecessors.

    Far more obviously than Plato in the dialogues, Xenophon calls attention in theMemorabiliato his own relationship with Socrates. A colorful and fully engaged writer, Xenophon aims above all to convince his readers of the greatness of Socrates' thought and the disgracefulness of his conviction on a capital charge. In thirty-nine chapters, Xenophon presents Socrates as an ordinary person and as a great benefactor to those associated with him.

    eISBN: 978-0-8014-7175-9
    Subjects: Philosophy, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. INTRODUCTION: Xenophon and His Socrates
    (pp. vii-xxii)
    Christopher Bruell

    The following remarks are intended to lend support to the view that Xenophon’s account of Socrates deserves more respectful attention from those interested in Socrates than it often receives today. The demonstration of such a proposition is too great a task in this context. But I will try to create a predisposition in its favor (or on behalf of open-minded consideration of it) in two ways: first, by considering in a very general way what might be responsible for the current neglect of Xenophon’s account; and, then, by giving a brief summary of the contents of theMemorabilia,the longest...

  4. Translator’s Note
    (pp. xxiii-xxviii)
    Amy L. Bonnette
  5. Memorabilia Xenophon

    • BOOK I
      (pp. 1-32)

      I often wondered by what possible speeches those who indicted Socrates persuaded the Athenians that he deserved death from the city.¹ For the indictment against him was something like the following: Socrates commits an injustice by not believing in² the gods in which the city believes and by bringing in new³ and different divine things (daimonia);⁴ he commits an injustice also by corrupting the young.⁵

      To begin with, then, what possible evidence did they use⁶ to show that he did not believe in the gods in which the city believed? For he visibly sacrificed often at home and often at...

    • BOOK II
      (pp. 33-70)

      In my opinion, also by saying such things, he turned his companions toward training themselves to be continent in their desire for meat and drink, and in regard to lust, sleep, cold, heat, and labor. When he recognized once that one of his companions was too undisciplined in such respects, he said, “Tell me, Aristippus,¹ if you should have to take and educate two youths, one so that he would be competent to rule, and the other so that he would not even lay a claim to rule, how would you educate each? Let us examine it, if you wish,...

    • BOOK III
      (pp. 71-110)

      That he benefited those who yearned for noble things by making them attentive to what they yearned for—this is what I shall now describe. Once, when he heard that Dionysodorus¹ had come to the city professing to teach how to be a general, he said to one of his companions whom he perceived wished to obtain this honor² in the city:

      “It is surely shameful, young fellow, for one who wishes to be general in the city to neglect learning how to be one, when it’s possible for him to do so. Indeed he would be penalized far more...

    • BOOK IV
      (pp. 111-150)

      So beneficial was Socrates in every matter and in every manner that it was visible to one who examined with even limited perceptionathat there was nothing more beneficial than being a companion of Socrates and spending time with him anywhere at all and in any matter whatsoever, since even remembering him when he was not present was of no small benefit to those who were accustomed to being in his company and who were receptive¹ to him. In fact when he was joking he was no less profitable to those who spent time with him than when he was...

  6. Notes
    (pp. 151-170)
  7. Index
    (pp. 171-172)