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These are the commanders who became such from having been philosophers; concerning whom Demochares said,—“Just as no one could make a spear out of a bulrush, so no one could make a faultless general out of Socrates.” For Plato says that Socrates served in three military expeditions, one to Potidæa, and another to Amphipolis, and another against the Bœotians, in which last it was that the battle of Delium took place. And though no one has mentioned this circumstance, he himself says that he gained the prize of the most eminent valour, since all the other Athenians fled, and many were slain. But all this is an erroneous statement. For the expedition against Amphipolis took place in the archonship of Alcæus, when Cleon was the general; and it [p. 343] was composed entirely of picked men, as Thucydides relates. Socrates then, a man who had nothing but his ragged cloak and his stick, must have been one of these picked men. But what historian or poet has mentioned this fact? Or where has Thucydides made the slightest mention of Socrates, this soldier of Plato's? And what is there in common between a shield and a philosopher's staff? And when was it that Socrates bore a part in the expedition against Potidoea, as Plato has said in his Charmides, where he states that he then yielded the prize of preeminent valour to Alcibiades? though Thucydides has not mentioned it, nor has Isocrates in his Oration on the Pair-horse Chariot. And what battle ever took place when Socrates gained the prize of preeminent valour? And what eminent and notorious exploit did he perform; for indeed there was actually no battle at all at that time, as Thucydides tells us. But Plato not being content with all these strange stories, introduces the valour which was displayed, or rather which was invented by him at Delium. For if Socrates had even taken Delium, as Herodicus the Cratetian has reported in his Treatise to Philosocrates, he would have fled disgracefully as all the rest did, when Pagondas sent two squadrons of cavalry unperceived round the hill. For then some of the Athenians fled to Delium, and some fled to the sea, and some to Oropus, and some to Mount Parnes. And the Bœotians, especially with their cavalry, pursued them and slew them; and the Locrian cavalry joined in the pursuit and slaughter. When then this disorder and alarm had seized upon the Athenians, did Socrates alone, looking proud and casting his eyes around, stand firm, turning aside the onset of the Bœotian and Locrian cavalry? And yet does Thucydides make no mention of this valour of his, nor even any poet either. And how was it that he yielded to Alcibiades the prize of preeminent valour, who had absolutely never joined in this expedition at all? But in the Crito, Plato, that favourite of Memory, says that Socrates had never once gone out of Attica, except when he, once went to the Isthmian games. And Antisthenes, the Socratic philosopher, tells the same tale as Plato about the Aristeia; but the story is not true. For this Dog flatters Socrates in many particulars, on which account we must not believe either of them, keeping Thucydides for our guide. For Antisthenes [p. 344] even exaggerates this false story, saying,—“'But we hear that you also received the prize of preeminent valour in the battle which took place against the Bœotians.' 'Be quiet, my friend, the prize belongs to Alcibiades, not to me.' 'Yes, but you gave it to him as we are told.'” But Plato's Socrates says that he was present at Potidæa, and that he yielded the prize of preeminent valour to Alcibiades on that occasion. But by the universal consent of all historians the expedition against Potidæa, in which Phormio commanded, was previous to the one against Delium.
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