THE COMMENCEMENTS OF SOPHISTICAL AND SOCRATIC SPECULATION.
SOCRATES was born Olymp. 77.3 = 469 B.C., some forty years before the death of Pericles; his life therefore runs on concurrently with the period that we are concerned with up to an age when his character certainly, and probably his reputation, must have been well established. He was a younger contemporary of the actors in the Persian war, and of several of the greatest names of the schools of Ionian and Italian philosophy. It is in later years than we are concerned with, that events forced him forward incidentally into opposition, now to democratical and now to oligarchical violence and injustice. How early he assumed that public position in which we are familiar with him, as a general and unwearied discourser and arguer, cannot be told; it may have been earlier, and some indications point this way; it may have been later, but in any case the interval of which we are endeavouring to recover the characteristics has large claims on the distinction that attaches to his career. It is to his prolonged life that we owe all the results of his personal influence upon the much younger Plato; but he might have perished earlier and still not have failed to communicate that decisive impulse to philosophical thought which not only turned it aside from previous barren channels, but was potent