Page:The Outline of History Vol 1.djvu/376

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352
THE OUTLINE OF HISTORY

the only young men of promise whose vulgar faith and patriotism Socrates destroyed, to leave nothing in its place. His most inveterate enemy was a certain Anytus, whose son, a devoted disciple of Socrates, had become a hopeless drunkard. Through Anytus it was that Socrates was at last prosecuted for "corrupting" the youth of Athens, and condemned to death by drinking a poisonous draught made from hemlock (399 B.C.).

His death is described with great beauty in the dialogue of Plato called by the name of Phædo.

 

§ 3

The preceding section raised an interesting discussion between Professor Gilbert Murray and the writer upon the character and quality of the common Athenian citizen. Professor Murray thought several phrases used by the writer harsh and unjust. But what he had to say was so interesting and informing, and the writer was so entirely in agreement with his spirit, that it seemed better, instead of modifying what had been written in § 1, to leave that as it stood and to supplement it by quoting Professor Murray. He objected to the parallelism with a twentieth-century crowd. "What I want you to do," he wrote, "is to take them at the level of the people round them and before them and see how they differ. For example, the first thing that strikes one is that they use all their powers for a different purpose than most peoples: for intellectual and artistic things. No more enormous works here to glorify divine kings; no private splendour, no luxury, but a wonderful output of art, poetry, philosophy, and—within limits—science. Compare them with Rome.

"In the matter of slavery; all nations had slaves; some treated them very cruelly, some with moderate cruelty. The Greeks alone argued whether it was right to have them—and 'cranks' occasionally proposed emancipation. You get strong testimony, sometimes indignant testimony, that the Athenians were too soft altogether in their treatment of slaves. As soon as you get to Carthaginian or Roman history you get appalling cruelty (the 6000 crucified by Crassus, the gladiatorial games, the habitual leg-breaking of slaves, etc.); such things seem never to have occurred in Greece. As soon as you get to Alexander you get, of