The impact of his life was all the greater because of the way in which it ended: at age 70, he was brought to trial on a charge of impiety and sentenced to death by poisoning (the poison probably being hemlock) by a jury of his fellow citizens. Socrates was a scholar, teacher and philosopher born in ancient Greece. His father was a sculptor, and his mother was a midwife. While there are differences between Plato's and Xenophon's depictions of Socrates, both present a man who cared nothing for class distinctions or `proper behavior' and who spoke as easily with women, servants, and slaves as with those of the higher classes. After his trial, he compared his refusal to retreat from his legal troubles to a soldier's refusal to retreat from battle when threatened with death. Although Hippocrates probably didn't write the famous oath that bears his name, it serves as foundation for the oath medical school graduates take at the start of their careers. His non-cooperation seems to be, in part, an expression of political infighting. Socrates, the most famous philosopher of all time, had one of the most subtle and complicated minds we have on record. people of all time. Although Socrates is generally regarded as initiating the discipline of philosophy in the West, most of what we know of him comes from Plato and, less so, from another of his students, Xenophon (l. 430-c.354 BCE). Socrates was also criticised in the writings of Callias, Eupolis and Telecleides. Socrates was a widely recognized and controversial figure in his native Athens, so much so that he was frequently mocked in the plays of comic dramatists. Biography of Socrates: In his biography, one know that he was born in Attica (-470) and died in Athens (-399), following his death sentence. Socrates was the son of Sophroniscus, an Athenian stonemason and sculptor, and Phaenarete, a midwife. Socrates (469-399 B.C.) The trial and death of Socrates According to Timon, he took over the stonemasonry trade, which was a family business, although Xenophon's version suggests that he dedicated his life to philosophical discussion. Scholars continue to disagree about which of the dialogues convey the views of the historical Socrates and which use the character simply as a mouthpiece for Plato’s philosophy. Bewildered by this answer and hoping to prove the Oracle wrong, Socrates went about questioning people who were held to be 'wise' in their own estimation and that of others. Instead of the defense filled with self-justification and  pleas for his life, however, Socrates defied the Athenian court, proclaiming his innocence and casting himself in the role of Athens' 'gadfly' - a benefactor to them all who, at his own expense, kept them awake and aware. Socrates' historicity has never been challenged but what, precisely, he taught is as elusive as the philophical tenets of Pythagoras or the later teachings of Jesus in that none of these figures wrote anything themselves. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Scholars still grapple with “the Socratic problem”: how to distinguish the historical Socrates from the individual portrayed and interpreted by various authors through the ages. Other sources include the contemporaneous Antisthenes, Aristippus, and Aeschines of Sphettos. In Plato's work, Socrates' father was Sophroniscus and his mother Phaenarete, a midwife. was a classical Greek philosopher who is credited with laying the fundamentals of modern Western philosophy. Rather than fleeing or renouncing his beliefs, Socrates accepted the death sentence he was given. "Socrates." Books It has also been suggested, based in part on interpretations of Plato's dialogue of the Meno, that Anytus blamed Socrates for corrupting his son. Black Friday Sale! Socrates, 469-399 B.C., Greek philosopher of Athens, is generally regarded as one of the wisest people of all time. What can reasonably be claimed about at least some of these dialogues is that they convey the gist of the questions Socrates asked, the ways in which he typically responded to the answers he received, and the general philosophical orientation that emerged from these conversations. The first two chapters of Book I of this work are especially important, because they explicitly undertake a refutation of the charges made against Socrates at his trial; they are therefore a valuable supplement to Xenophon’s Apology, which is devoted entirely to the same purpose. He has taught history, writing, literature, and philosophy at the college level. His style of philosophizing was to engage in public conversations about some human excellence and, through skillful questioning, to show that his interlocutors did not know what they were talking about. Written by Joshua J. Premium Membership is now 50% off! In ancient Athens, individual behavior was maintained by a concept known as `Eusebia' which is often translated into English as `piety' but more closely resembles `duty' or `loyalty to a course'. Religious scandal and the coup of the oligarchs, The perceived fragility of Athenian democracy, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Socrates, Age of the Sage - Transmitting the Wisdoms of the Ages - Biography of Socrates, PBS LearningMedia - Socrates and the Early Senate | The Greeks, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy - Biography of Socrates, Ancient History Encyclopedia - Biography of Socrates, Socrates - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11), Socrates - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). Their mutual enmity became the subject of Aristophanes’ satirical play The Clouds. (2009, September 02). Socrates - Socrates - The charge of impiety: Socrates spends a large part of his speech trying to persuade his fellow citizens that he is indeed a pious man, because his philosophical mission has been carried out in obedience to the god who presides at Delphi.

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