Discuss how using context and knowing affixes and root words can help readers understand texts such as the Apology. Use details from the text to support your answer.

Many English translations of Apology rely on understanding of senses of Greek words in their historical context and thus knowing Greek and Latin roots will help students avoid anachronism.

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The Apology, as many Platonic dialogues, is concerned with issues of definition. The definitions, of course, are of Greek terms and exist within a Greek cultural context. To understand many of the concepts being discussed requires having a sense of the actual Greek terms and the English roots and affixes can help the Greekless reader get a sense of the text as it would have been understood by its intended audience.

One important example is the term usually translated as "art." The Greek term is actually "techne," which was translated into Latin as "ars" and then English as the cognate "art." It actually means something closer to skill or craft than the modern sense of a creative activity.

Another important term is "virtue." The Greek term is "arete", a term deriving from "Ares" the Greek war god. It originally meant skill in battle but eventually grew to mean excellence, and particularly moral excellence. It was translated into Latin as "virtus" which has a sense of manliness or courage and thence into the English cognate "virtue," which often carries a sense of sexual restraint, a sense that is not present in the Greek at all.

Finally, the term "apology" does not have the modern sense of asking for forgiveness but simply means a speech for a legal defense and thus a student who thinks of this as apologizing in a modern sense might find the work confusing.

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