ἀλλ᾽ οὐ τοῦτο ἐρωτῶ, ὦ βέλτιστε, ἀλλὰ τίς ἄνθρωπος, ὅστις πρῶτον καὶ αὐτὸ τοῦτο οἶδε, τοὺς νόμους;
οὗτοι, ὦ Σώκρατες, οἱ δικασταί.
πῶς λέγεις, ὦ Μέλητε; οἵδε τοὺς νέους παιδεύειν οἷοί τέ εἰσι καὶ βελτίους ποιοῦσιν;
πότερον ἅπαντες, ἢ οἱ μὲν αὐτῶν, οἱ δ᾽ οὔ;
εὖ γε νὴ τὴν Ἥραν λέγεις καὶ πολλὴν ἀφθονίαν τῶν ὠφελούντων. τί δὲ δή; οἱ δὲ ἀκροαταὶ βελτίους ποιοῦσιν
But I don't ask this, O excellent fellow, but who's the man, who first also knows this very thing, the laws?
"They do, O Socrates, the jurors."
What do you mean, O Meletos? These are able to educate the young men, and they make them better?
Is it all of them, or do some of them do, and others do not?
By Hera, you speak well, and you speak of a great plenty of ones who are of service. But what then? Do the listeners make [them] better,
[25α] ἢ οὔ;
τί δέ, οἱ βουλευταί;
καὶ οἱ βουλευταί.
ἀλλ᾽ ἄρα, ὦ Μέλητε, μὴ οἱ ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ, οἱ ἐκκλησιασταί, διαφθείρουσι τοὺς νεωτέρους; ἢ κἀκεῖνοι βελτίους ποιοῦσιν ἅπαντες;
πάντες ἄρα, ὡς ἔοικεν, Ἀθηναῖοι καλοὺς κἀγαθοὺς ποιοῦσι πλὴν ἐμοῦ, ἐγὼ δὲ μόνος διαφθείρω. οὕτω λέγεις;
πάνυ σφόδρα ταῦτα λέγω.
πολλήν γέ μου κατέγνωκας δυστυχίαν. καί μοι ἀπόκριναι: ἦ καὶ περὶ ἵππους οὕτω σοι δοκεῖ ἔχειν; οἱ μὲν
What even the councillors?"
"The councillors too."
But, O Meletos, the ones in the assembly, the ekklesiastai, they don't destroy the young men, do they? All those, too, make [them] better.
So all Athenians, so it seems, make them fine and good, except for me. I alone ruin them. Is this what you're saying?
"That's exactly what I'm saying."
You have found in me great misfortune. And answer me: is it the case that it seems to you to hold in this way concerning horses? Those
[25β] βελτίους ποιοῦντες αὐτοὺς πάντες ἄνθρωποι εἶναι, εἷς δέ τις ὁ διαφθείρων; ἢ τοὐναντίον τούτου πᾶν εἷς μέν τις ὁ βελτίους οἷός τ᾽ ὢν ποιεῖν ἢ πάνυ ὀλίγοι, οἱ ἱππικοί, οἱ δὲ πολλοὶ ἐάνπερ συνῶσι καὶ χρῶνται ἵπποις, διαφθείρουσιν; οὐχ οὕτως ἔχει, ὦ Μέλητε, καὶ περὶ ἵππων καὶ τῶν ἄλλων ἁπάντων ζῴων; πάντως δήπου, ἐάντε σὺ καὶ Ἄνυτος οὐ φῆτε ἐάντε φῆτε: πολλὴ γὰρ ἄν τις εὐδαιμονία εἴη περὶ τοὺς νέους εἰ εἷς μὲν μόνος αὐτοὺς διαφθείρει, οἱ δ᾽ ἄλλοι
who make them better [seem to you] to be all men, and a single someone the one who ruins [them]? Or is it the complete opposite of this, that a single someone is able to make [them] better, or a very few, the skilled horsemen, while the many, if they are together with and in possession of horses, ruin [them]? Does it not hold in this way, O Meletos, both concerning horses and concerning all other beasts? Certainly in all cases, even if you and Anytos say not, even if you agree: for for it would be some great blessing concerning the young men if only one ruined them, while the others
[25ξ] ὠφελοῦσιν. ἀλλὰ γάρ, ὦ Μέλητε, ἱκανῶς ἐπιδείκνυσαι ὅτι οὐδεπώποτε ἐφρόντισας τῶν νέων, καὶ σαφῶς ἀποφαίνεις τὴν σαυτοῦ ἀμέλειαν, ὅτι οὐδέν σοι μεμέληκεν περὶ ὧν ἐμὲ εἰσάγεις.
ἔτι δὲ ἡμῖν εἰπέ, ὦ πρὸς Διὸς Μέλητε, πότερόν ἐστιν οἰκεῖν ἄμεινον ἐν πολίταις χρηστοῖς ἢ πονηροῖς; ὦ τάν, ἀπόκριναι: οὐδὲν γάρ τοι χαλεπὸν ἐρωτῶ. οὐχ οἱ μὲν πονηροὶ κακόν τι ἐργάζονται τοὺς ἀεὶ ἐγγυτάτω αὑτῶν ὄντας, οἱ δ᾽ ἀγαθοὶ ἀγαθόν τι;
provided help. But, O Meletos, you are competently demonstrating that you never yet at any time are taking thought for the youth, and clearly you display negligence towards yourself, that there's care in you for nothing concerning the things which you bring against me.
And yet tell us, O by Zeus Meletos, whether it is better to dwell in a useful citizen or in a knavish one? [I assume this means with or in the house of such a citizen.] O fellow, answer: for I ask you nothing hard. Don't the knavish accomplish something bad always for the ones who are nearest to them, while the good [accomplish] something good?
[25δ]ἔστιν οὖν ὅστις βούλεται ὑπὸ τῶν συνόντων βλάπτεσθαι μᾶλλον ἢ ὠφελεῖσθαι; ἀποκρίνου, ὦ ἀγαθέ: καὶ γὰρ ὁ νόμος κελεύει ἀποκρίνεσθαι. ἔσθ᾽ ὅστις βούλεται βλάπτεσθαι;
φέρε δή, πότερον ἐμὲ εἰσάγεις δεῦρο ὡς διαφθείροντα τοὺς νέους καὶ πονηροτέρους ποιοῦντα ἑκόντα ἢ ἄκοντα;
τί δῆτα, ὦ Μέλητε; τοσοῦτον σὺ ἐμοῦ σοφώτερος εἶ τηλικούτου ὄντος τηλικόσδε ὤν, ὥστε σὺ μὲν ἔγνωκας ὅτι οἱ μὲν κακοὶ κακόν τι ἐργάζονται ἀεὶ τοὺς μάλιστα πλησίον
So is there anyone who wants to be hindered by their fellows indeed, or to be aided? Answer, O good man: for the law commands that it be answered. Is there someone who wants to be harmed?
"Of course not."
Now come, [tell me] whether you bring a charge against me here as someone ruing the young men and making them wicked freely or under constraint?
"Freely, of course."
Why so, O Meletos? Are you wiser than me with respect to so much, when you're at your age and I'm at mine, since you have recognised that the bad accomplish something bad always indeed for those nearby themselves,
[25ε] ἑαυτῶν, οἱ δὲ ἀγαθοὶ ἀγαθόν, ἐγὼ δὲ δὴ εἰς τοσοῦτον ἀμαθίας ἥκω ὥστε καὶ τοῦτ᾽ ἀγνοῶ, ὅτι ἐάν τινα μοχθηρὸν ποιήσω τῶν συνόντων, κινδυνεύσω κακόν τι λαβεῖν ὑπ᾽ αὐτοῦ, ὥστε τοῦτο τὸ τοσοῦτον κακὸν ἑκὼν ποιῶ, ὡς φῂς σύ;
while the good [accomplish] good, and indeed have I come to so great a degree of ignorance so that I'm ignorant even of this, that if I were to make something wicked for my fellows, I'm likely to received something wicked at their hands, so would I do so much evil willingly, what do you say?