Anytus and Meletus

"How strange, then, that Socrates should have been so treated by the Athenians." Slave, why do you say Socrates? Speak of the thing as it is, how strange that the poor body of Socrates should have been carried off and dragged to prison by stronger men, and that any one should have given hemlock to the poor body of Socrates, and that the body should cease to breathe. Do these things seem strange? Do they seem unjust? Do you on account of these things blame God? Had Socrates then no equivalent for these things? Where, then, for him was the nature of good? Whom shall we listen to, you or him? And what does Socrates say? "Anytus and Meletus can kill me, but they cannot hurt me." And further, he says, "If it so pleases God, so let it be."

Anytus and Meletus were two opponents in the Athenian Senate who wished to destroy Socrates. Even though they won their case in the Senate, Socrates was never defeated because his soul always remained untouched despite the fact that he was ordered to commit suicide. Physical forces of evil may overcome physical forces of good, but the soul always remains aloof from their effects.

Chapter 29:

  1. On Constancy and Courage
  2. Do Philosophers Despise Kings? (2a)
  3. Opinions (2b)
  4. The Stronger and the Weaker (2c)
  5. Anytus and Meletus (2d)
  6. Superior Principles (2e)
  7. Child-Like Minds (2f)
  8. Like an Athlete (2g)
  9. Facing Adversity (2h)
  10. Might for Right (2i)
  11. Objective Truth (2j)
  12. Exhortation to Action (2k)
  13. The Runaway Slave (2l)
  14. Summary - Stoicism and Christianity (2m)
Stoicism and Christianity Index

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This is a translation and explanation of the first book of the Discourses of Epictetus. His words are in regular text, comments are in bold.

Biographical Information on Epictetus

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