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Socrates' Guilt by Association

Athenians with qualms about Socrates found confirmation of their fears in the careers of Alcibiades1 and, especially, Critias, one of the Thirty Tyrants2. Socrates's critics blamed him for Alcibiades's contempt for social conventions because Alcibiades had been one of Socrates's most devoted followers. Critias, another prominent follower, played a leading role in the murder and plunder perpetrated by the Thirty Tyrants in 404-403 B.C. In blaming Socrates for the crimes of Critias3, Socrates's detractors chose to overlook his defiance of the Thirty Tyrants when they had tried to involve him in their violent schemes and his utter rejection of the immorality Critias had displayed.

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