Getting at the Truth Concerning Ancient Trials

APPROACH TO PROBLEM:
Look to non-sympathetic sources, if any

Trial of Socrates:
Plays written during lifetime of Socrates
---eccentric headmaster of "thinkery" (Aristophanes in Clouds, 423 BC)
---pro-Sparta youth called "Socratified" (Aristophanes in Birds, 417 BC)
---"poverty-stricken windbag" (Eulopsis)
From argument in a later trial (345 BC):
---"[Socrates executed because] clearly responsible for education of Critias, one of the 30 anti-democratic leaders"

Trial of Jesus:
Two late First-century histories
---"Christus...suffered the extreme penalty...at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate, and a most mischievous superstition...broke out..."
(Tacitus, Roman historian)
---"Pilate sentenced [Jesus] to die on the cross, having been urged to do so by the noblest of our citizens...."
(Flavius Josephus, Jewish historian in 80s or early 90s AD)