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In Plato’s version, by contrast, Socrates defends himself with attitude, along lines that are deliberately and dramatically different from the ways that upright Athenians at the time would have been expecting to behave. Rather than humbly pleading or flattering the jurors, he tells them in no uncertain terms that, far from posing a danger to the city, he is quite literally god’s gift to it. He has been sent by the god to serve Athens by waking it up, acting as a good citizen not by the usual route of making speeches in the assembly or lawcourts, but rather by questioning those he encounters about what they claim to know: ‘I was attached to this city by the god … as upon a great and noble horse which was somewhat sluggish because of its size and needed to be stirred up by a kind of gadfly. It is to fulfil some such function that I believe the god has placed me in the city’ (Apology of Socrates 30e).

p. 147., – Greek and Roman Political Ideas, Melissa Lane, 2014.