When the attendants1
forward and were dragging him off, Theramenes bore his bad fortune with a noble spirit, since
indeed he had had no little acquaintance with philosophy in company with Socrates; the
multitude, however, in general mourned the ill-fortune of Theramenes, but had not the courage
to come to his aid since a strong armed guard stood around him.
Now Socrates the philosopher and two of his intimates ran forward and endeavoured to hinder
the attendants. But Theramenes entreated them to do nothing of the kind; he appreciated, he
said, their friendship and bravery, but as for himself, it would be the greatest grief if he
should be the cause of the death of those who were so intimately associated with him.
Socrates and his helpers, since they had no aid from anyone
else and saw the intransigence of those in authority increasing, made no move. Then those who
had received their orders dragged Theramenes from the altar and hustled him through the centre
of the market-place to his execution;
and the populace,
terror-stricken at the arms of the garrison, were filled with pity for the unfortunate man and
shed tears, not only over his fate but also over their own slavery. For all the common sort,
when they saw a man of such virtue as Theramenes treated with such contumely, had concluded
that they in their weakness would be sacrificed without a thought.
After the death of Theramenes the Thirty drew up a list
of the wealthy, lodged false charges against them, put them to death, and seized their estates.
They slew even Niceratus, the son of Nicias who had commanded the campaign against the
Syracusans, a man who had conducted himself toward all men with fairness and humanity, and who
was perhaps first of all Athenians in wealth and reputation.
It came about, therefore, that every house was filled with pity for the end of the man, as
fond thoughts due to their memory of his honest ways provoked them to tears. Nevertheless, the
tyrants did not cease from their lawless conduct; rather their madness became so much the more
acute that of the metics they slaughtered sixty of the wealthiest in order to gain possession
of their property, and as for the citizens, since they were being killed daily, the well-to-do
among them fled from the city almost to a man.
They also slew
an outspoken man, and, in a word,
the most respectable
citizens. So far did their wasting of the city go that more than half of the Athenians took to