[Full Text] Xenophon’s Memorabilia

The Memorable Thoughts of Socrates
by Xenophon
Translated by Edward Bisshe

Xenophon (c. 430 – 354 BCE), a Greek historian, philosopher and soldier, was a student of Socrates and contemporary of Plato. His “Memorabilia” defends Socrates’ moral teachings, countering misconceptions. This work offers a unique perspective on Socrates and Socratic philosophy, and its influence on ancient Greek thought.

  • Book 1 discusses Socrates’ innocence, wisdom and positive influence on youth, refuting his unjust trial and execution.
  • Book 2 focuses on Socratic conversations with Aristodemus exploring justice, piety and virtue.
  • Book 3 portrays Socratic discussions on friendship, self-control and moral education, highlighting Socrates’ ethical teachings.
  • Book 4 discusses Socratic conversations about leadership, governance and the qualities of a good leader.

These books collectively illuminate Socrates’ wisdom and ethical philosophy, offering invaluable information about the intellectual climate of ancient Greece, the character of Socrates and Socratic philosophy.

Table of Contents


CHAPTER I. Socrates not a Contemner of the Gods of his Country, nor an Introducer of New Ones
CHAPTER II. Socrates not a Debaucher of Youth
CHAPTER III. How Socrates Behaved Through the Whole of His Life
CHAPTER IV. Socrates Proveth the Existence of a Deity
CHAPTER V. The Praise of Temperance
CHAPTER VI. The Dispute of Socrates with Antiphon, the Sophist
CHAPTER VII. In What Manner Socrates Dissuaded Men from Self-Conceit and Ostentation


CHAPTER I. A Conference of Socrates With Aristippus Concerning Pleasure and Temperance
CHAPTER II. Socrates’ Discourse with His eldest Son Lamprocles Concerning the Respect Due to Parents
CHAPTER III. Socrates Reconciles Chaerephon and Chaerecrates, Two Brothers Who Were Formerly at Variance
CHAPTER IV. A Discourse of Socrates Concerning Friendship
CHAPTER V. Of the Worth and Value of Friends
CHAPTER VI. Of the Choice of Friends
CHAPTER VII. Socrates Showeth Aristarchus How to Get Rid of Poverty
CHAPTER VIII. Socrates Persuades Eutherus to Abandon His Former Way of Living, and to Betake Himself to Some More Useful and Honourable Employment
CHAPTER IX. In What Manner Socrates Taught His Friend Crito to Rid Himself of Some Informers, Who Took the Advantage of His Easy Temper
CHAPTER X. Socrates Advises Diodorus to do Justice to the Merit of Hermogenes, and to Accept of His Service and Friendship


CHAPTER I. Of the Qualifications of a General
CHAPTER II. The Character of a Good Prince
CHAPTER III. On the Business of a General of Horse
CHAPTER IV. A Discourse of Socrates With Nicomachides, in Which He Showeth That a Man Skilful in His Own Proper Business, and Who Manages His Affairs With Prudence and Sagacity, May Make, When Occasion Offers, a Good General
CHAPTER V. A Conversation Between Socrates and Pericles Concerning the Then Present State of the Republic of Athens, in Which Socrates Lays Down a Method by Which the Athenians May Recover Their Ancient Lustre and Reputation
CHAPTER VI. Socrates Dissuades Glaucon, a Very Forward Youth, From Taking Upon Him the Government of the Republic, for Which He Was Unfit
CHAPTER VII. Socrates Persuadeth Charmidas, a Person of Merit and Great Capacity, but Very Modest and Diffident of Himself, To Undertake the Government of the Republic
CHAPTER VIII. Socrates’ Dispute With Aristippus Concerning the Good and Beautiful
CHAPTER IX. Socrates Returns Suitable Answers to a Variety of Questions Proposed to Him
CHAPTER X. Socrates, in Conversation With Several Artificers, a Painter, a Statuary, and an Armourer, Showeth His Skill and Good Taste in the Finer Arts
CHAPTER XI. Discourse of Socrates With Theodota, an Athenian Lady, of No Good Character; Wherein He Endeavoureth, in the Most Artful and Engaging Manner, To Win Her Over From the Criminal Pleasures to Which She Was Addicted Unto the Sublimer and More Innocent Delights of Philosophy and Virtue
CHAPTER XII. Of the Necessity of Exercise to Health and Strength of Body
CHAPTER XIII. Several Apophthegms of Socrates
CHAPTER XIV. Socrates Proposeth Some Regulations for the Better Management of Their Public Feasts


CHAPTER I. That Persons of Good Natural Parts, As Well as Those Who Have Plentiful Fortunes, Ought Not To Think Themselves Above Instruction. On the Contrary, the One Ought, by the Aid of Learning, To Improve Their Genius; the Other, by the Acquisition of Knowledge, to Render Themselves Valuable
CHAPTER II. Conference Between Socrates and Euthydemus, in Which He Convinces That Young Man, Who Had a Great Opinion of Himself, That He Knew Nothing
CHAPTER III. Proofs of a Kind Superintending Providence.—What Returns of Gratitude and Duty Men Ought To Make to God for His Favours.—an Honest and Good Life the Best Song of Thanksgiving or the Most Acceptable Sacrifice to the Deity
CHAPTER IV. Instances of the Inviolable Integrity of Socrates.—His Conversation With Hippias Concerning Justice
CHAPTER V. Of the Mischiefs of Intemperance, and the Advantages of Sobriety
CHAPTER VI. Socrates’ Friends Attain, by Frequenting His Conversation, an Excellent Way of Reasoning.—the Method He Observed in Arguing Shown in Several Instances.—of the Different Sorts of Government.—How Socrates Defended His Opinions
CHAPTER VII. Method To Be Observed in Study.—Arts and Sciences No Further Useful, Than They Contribute To Render Men Wiser, Better, or Happier.—Vain and Unprofitable Knowledge To Be Rejected
CHAPTER VIII. Behaviour of Socrates From the Time of His Condemnation to His Death.—His Character Summed Up in a Few Words

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