[26a] but either I do not corrupt them, or if I corrupt them, I do it involuntarily, so that you are lying in both events. But if I corrupt them involuntarily, for such involuntary errors the law is not to hale people into court, but to take them and instruct and admonish them in private. For it is clear that if I am told about it, I shall stop doing that which I do involuntarily. But you avoided associating with me and instructing me, and were unwilling to do so, but you hale me in here, where it is the law to hale in those who need punishment, not instruction.But enough of this, for, men of Athens, this is clear, as I said, that Meletus never [26b] cared much or little for these things. But nevertheless, tell us, how do you say, Meletus, that I corrupt the youth? Or is it evident, according to the indictment you brought, that it is by teaching them not to believe in the gods the state believes in, but in other new spiritual beings? Do you not say that it is by teaching this that I corrupt them? “Very decidedly that is what I say.” Then, Meletus, for the sake of [26c] these very gods about whom our speech now is, speak still more clearly both to me and to these gentlemen. For I am unable to understand whether you say that I teach that there are some gods, and myself then believe that there are some gods, and am not altogether godless and am not a wrongdoer in that way, that these, however, are not the gods whom the state believes in, but others, and this is what you accuse me for, that I believe in others; or you say that I do not myself believe in gods at all and that I teach this unbelief to other people. “That is what I say, that you do not believe in gods at all.” You amaze me, Meletus! Why do you say this? [26d] Do I not even believe that the sun or yet the moon are gods, as the rest of mankind do? “No, by Zeus, judges, since he says that the sun is a stone and the moon earth.” Do you think you are accusing Anaxagoras, my dear Meletus, and do you so despise these gentlemen and think they are so unversed in letters as not to know, that the books of Anaxagoras the Clazomenian are full of such utterances? And forsooth the youth learn these doctrines from me, which they can buy sometimes [26e] (if the price is high) for a drachma in the orchestra and laugh at Socrates, if he pretends they are his own, especially when they are so absurd! But for heaven's sake, do you think this of me, that I do not believe there is any god? “No, by Zeus, you don't, not in the least.” You cannot be believed, Meletus, not even, as it seems to me, by yourself. For this man appears to me, men of Athens, to be very violent and unrestrained, and actually to have brought this indictment in a spirit of violence and unrestraint and rashness. For he seems,
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