Who were Socrates's most dangerous accusers?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Anytus was probably the most dangerous of Socrates's accusers.

There is no existing record of the speeches made by the prosecution. As a result, we must base our conclusions off other accounts, mainly Plato's Apology and Xenophon's Apology.

According to Plato, Meletus, the first accuser at the trial, is...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

Anytus was probably the most dangerous of Socrates's accusers.

There is no existing record of the speeches made by the prosecution. As a result, we must base our conclusions off other accounts, mainly Plato's Apology and Xenophon's Apology.

According to Plato, Meletus, the first accuser at the trial, is easily outwitted by Socrates into making nonsensical statements. Besides, he is often considered to have been Anytus's puppet, anyway. Lycon, the final accuser, receives little attention in written accounts of the trial. He was a skilled orator, but little else is known about him. The fact that so little is said about Lycon could indicate that he did not pose the most significant threat to Socrates.

Anytus, on the other hand, was well known. He was an influential Athenian who was generally well respected by the populace. This alone would give Anytus an advantage before the jury. As a politician and champion of Athenian democracy, Anytus may have been strongly motivated to prosecute Socrates, who was known to ridicule both politicians and democracy. It is likely that he would have fought vociferously for Socrates's conviction and used whatever influence he had to secure it.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on