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He was a wretch, who employed the sophistry and cunning argumentation, which he learnt of his master, to the purpose only of evading his debts, contracted by the most profligate extra'vagancies: He afterwaads went over to the Ichool of Plato, and when Socrates was dead, had influence enough with Xantippe to obtain of her fome dialogues from her husband's papers, which he published as his own, and set up for an author and preceptor in philosophy. It is very, probable Aristophanes had in : view the character of this very Æfchines, when he brings his old man on the scene, consulting Socrates for sophistical evasions how to elude his cre. ditors,
Another of the scholars of Socrates was Simon the sophist, a man whose rapacity be
a proverb: (Σίμωνος αρπακτικώτερος, Simoni rapacior). This Simon was such a plunderer of the public money, that Aristophanes in his strong manner says, The very wolves run off upon the fight of Simon.,
The despicable Cleonymus, whose cowardice was as proverbial as Simon's rapacity, and the profligate Theorus, who buried himself in the stews at Corinth, were also fellow ftudents under Socrates, and it is with just indignation against such execrable characters that Ariftophanes ex
tlaims - Jupiter, if thy bolts are aimed at perjury, why do these wretches, of all most perjured, Simon, Cleonymus and Theorus, escape the froke?
"Ειπερβάλλει τις επιόρκες, πως δήτ' εχί Σίμων
ενέπρησιν, , Ουδί Κλεώνυμο», έδε Θεώρων και καί τοι σφόδρα γ'
Aristippus, the Cyrenaic founder, was a diftinguished disciple of the Socratic school, a parafite also in the court of Dionyfius, a buffoon and drunkard, the avowed opposer of every thing virtuous, a master and professor of immorality, who laid down institutes of sensuality and reduced it to a system.
Of Alcibiades I shall briefly speak, for the stories of Socrates's attachment to him are such as need not be enlarged upon ; they obtained fo generally, that he was vulgarly called Alcibiades's bilesius : When I glance at these reports in disfavour of a character, which probably stands fo high in the opinion of the learned reader, I must hope for a candid interpretation of my motives for collecting these anccdotes, which I do not wish to apply to any other purpose than mcrely to show that Aristophanes was not fingular in his attack upon this celebrated philosopher; neither did this attack bear so hard against him, as many stories, then in general circulation, otherwise did : Great authorities have ascribed his attachment to Alcibiades to the most virtuous principle ; common fame, or perhaps (more properly speaking) common defamation, turned it into a charge of the impurest nature: In like manner we find him ridiculed for his devotion to the noted Aspasia, in whose company he is said to have passed much of his time; and Athènæus quotes fome passages of his dialogues with her, which he tells us were published by Herodicus, and which we must either totally reject, or allow him to have been subject to such private weaknesses and frailties, as were very unsuitable to his public character: What were the real motives for his frequent visits to Aspasia, as well as for his seeming' attachment to the strumpet Theodote, must be left to conjecture; of the fact there is no room to doubt. He is stigmatized for his guilty connections in his youth with his preceptor Archelaus, and yet this charge (however improbable it may seem) rests upon the authority of Aristoxenus, a man of the most candid character, and whose credit stands high with all true critics. Herodicus the historian, Vol. III.
whom I have before mentioned, and who lived about three hundred and fifty years before the Christian æra, feems to have treated Socrates with the greatest severity, charging him with fitting up all night drinking and carousing with Agatho and others, whom when he had left drunk and asleep, he reeled into the Lyceum, more fit (in the words quoted from the relater) for the society of Homer's cannibals, than of those he found there : In this debauch it is pretended, that although. Phedrus, Eryximachus and many other potent drinkers fled the company,
Socrates fate to the last, swallowing drenches of wine out of enormous goblets of silver : He describes him sitting amongst lascivious revellers at a banquet, where dancinggirls and boys were exhibiting their indecent attitudes to the music of harpers and minstrels : He exposes this master of morality entering into a controversy with his scholar Critobulus upon the subject of male beauty; and because Critobulus had ridiculed him for his ugliness, he afferts that Socrates challenged him to a naked exhibition, and that he actually exposed his unseemly person to a Pathic and a dancinggirl, the appointed umpires of the dispute; the conqueror was to be rewarded with an embrace from each of these umpires, as the prize of fuperior beauty, and the decision was of consequence given ex absurdo to the philosopher, in preference to one of the handsomest young men in Greece, and he enjoyed the prize annexed to the decree. If we can believe this anecdote to have been gravely related by an historian, who lived so near to him in point of time, we shall cease to wonder that Aristophanes had the whole theatre on his fide, when such stories were in circulation against the character of Socrates.
As I have no other object in view but to offer what occurs to me in defence of Aristophanes, who appears to have been moft unjustly accused of taking bribes for his attack upon Socrates, and of having paved the way for the cruel sentence by which he suffered death, I shall here conclude an invidious task, which my subject, not my choice, has laid upon me.
In our volume of Aristophanes, the comedies are not placed according to the order of time in which they were produced : There is reason to think that The Acharnenfians was the first of its author; it was acted in the last year of Olymp. LXXXV. when the edict was reversed which prohibited the representation of comedies, and it is said that Aristophanes brought it out in the name of Calliftratus the comedian.
In the last year of Olymp. LXXXVIII. he