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Comparison of Socrates and Apuleius speeches of Apology (Essay Sample)


Socrates delivered his Apology to a jury of citizens in the city of Athens 399 BC. Apuleius delivered his Apology to a Roman jury at Sabratha in Roman Province of North Africa in AD 158/159. Much had changed in the Mediterranean world in the seven centuries separating the two speeches.
Compare and Contrast the two speeches. You answer should (1) comment on the occasion and context of the speech; (2) identify the difference and similarities between the Greek and Roman legal systems, courts, and procedures that are evident in the two speeches ; and (3) express an opinion on which of the two speeches was more effective or suited to its purpose.


Comparison of Socrates’ and Apuleius’ speeches of Apology
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The ‘Apology of Socrates’ and the ‘Apology’ of Apuleius are among the several pieces of literature that have been studied for ages. The ‘Apology of Socrates’, as documented by Plato is a dialogue of legal self-defense, as Socrates tried to defend himself before the jury of citizen. Socrates had been charged of corruption and impiety. Socrates has over the years been described as one of the pioneering minds behind the western philosophy, the western ethical nature and tradition of thinking and also the moral philosophy. On the other hand, the Apology of Apuleius is a documentation of how Apuleius argued in his defense in front of the jury at Tripolitania which at that period was part of the Roman province in Africa. Apuleius had been accused of unacceptable involvement in black magic, which has over the years been a felony among the Roman people. Apuleius, although not studied by many scholars as compared to the other philosophers of his caliber, is accredited with a number of significant accomplishments during his lifetime. He was a distinguished rhetorician, poet and an esteemed philosopher, and also known to have authored the book, Metamorphoses, which was reported to have sold numerous copies after being re-named The Golden Ass by Augustine.
In this literature piece, I will focus on the Apology of Socrates, by Plato and the document Apologia presented as the written version of the apology by Apuleius, at a place known as Sabratha, to compare and contrast the historical events and issues that are highlighted. I will also use the two historical documentations to identify the similarities and differences between the Roman and the Greek legal systems, procedures and also the courts by then. After critical analysis and research, I will be able to come up with an honest opinion of which of the apologies discussed at length above was far much effective.
In the ‘Apology of Socrates’ by Plato, Socrates begins his defense by inquiring whether or not the jury had been persuaded by the claims of his accusers. Socrates exclaims as he admits that the minds of the people of Athens had already been poisoned by his enemies who tagged him as the sophistical philosopher, and that the trial was basing on that. Being the smart man that he was, Socrates lays the foundation of his legal defense on the fact that he considered himself ignorant. He also asked the jury not to judge him basing on his oratory skills but only on the truth that he was to present before them.
Socrates tackles the accusations leveled against him philosophically and with utmost calmness, that amazed many, majorly his supporters. One of the serious accusations leveled against Socrates was that he had corrupted the young people of Athens by directly influencing them to challenge the status quo. In his defense, he accused his accuser, Meletus of being a hypocrite, claiming he was as corrupt as the individuals he pretended to fight. While interrogating him, Socrates highlights that no one can intent to corrupt another, basing on the knowledge of the awaiting vengeance by the corrupted individual.
Socrates then responds to the second accusation, where he was accused of being an atheist who had impiety against the gods of Athens. As he interrogated Meletus, one of his leading accusers, he led him into contradicting himself stating that, Socrates was an atheist who believed in spiritual agencies, leaving Meletus very much embarrassed and confused. Socrates later on responds to the final accusation, where he was accused of not obeying the authority of the land. To his defense, he states that every lawful authority should be respected and ob...

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