APOLLODORUS OF PHALERON (’Απολλοδωρος [Apollodoros])–a student of Socrates in the fifth and fourth century BC., he popularized Socrates’s views.
What little information we have about the life of Apollodorus is found mostly in Plato’s dialogues: Symposium and Phaedo. Apollodorus lived in Athens and around 397 became a student of Socrates. Apollodorus’ brother, Aiantodorus, also was a student of Socrates. Apolllodorus was fascinated by the person of his master and treated him with exceeding reverence. He thought that Socrates as the best and wisest citizen of Athens was worthy of the highest honor. Xenophon’s history shows that Apollodorus took part in the trial of Socrates. According to this account, he was unsatisfied with the judgment of condemnation against Socrates and addressed Socrates with these words: “It fills me with the greatest bitterness that you will perish unjustly.” Socrates replied: “And you would prefer me to perish justly?”
According to the testimony of Plato, Apollodorus was present at the death of Socrates. In the Phaedo, Plato presents him as the disciple who was most affected by the death of his master. Diogenes Laertius in Lives of Eminent Philosophers tells that Apollodorus want to offer Socrates a beautiful cloak to die in. Socrates answered: “My own cloak was good enough to live, and is it not good enough to die in?”.
Xenophon described Apollodorus as a “man of simple spirit”. Plato saw him in the same way and made him the narrator in the dialogue Symposium. Apollodorus is presented there as a simple-hearted admirer of Socrates fascinated by his views and taking the teaching of his master literally. He was not an independent thinker. He regarded every view presented by Socrates as true. No dialogues of Apollodorus are known. The only task that he set to himself was to preserve the memory of the deeds of Socrates, “the best among all Athenians”. Because he desired to preserve Socrates’ views unchanged, he did not take part in the discussions of other students of Socrates who tried to modify and develop the teaching of the master.
K. Krońska, Sokrates [Socrates], Wwa 1964, 19895; idem, Słownik filozofów [Dictionary of Philosophers], Wwa 1966, 26.
Robert T. Ptaszek