The philosopher Socrates was born circa 469 BCE in Athens and from an early time, he was interested in philosophy, natural philosophy first and later, what is now known as ethical inquiry (from the Greek ἦθος, ethos, meaning character). He wrote no books of his own but we know of him mainly through the writings of Plato and Xenophon, two of his students. His integrity and famed philosophic life-style had a major influence on philosophers who came after him. He lived through the Peloponnesian War, the plague of Athens and the rule of the 30 dictators. At the age of 70, he was accused of “refusing to recognize the gods recognized by the state” and of “corrupting the youth.” Tried by 500 of his fellow Athenians in 399 BCE, he was found guilty and condemned to death by drinking poison hemlock.
Hellenion voted in 2018 to add the anniversary of the death of Socrates to our official calendar.
Click here for an account of the death of Socrates from Plato’s Phaedo.
Adkins, Lesley and Roy A. Adkins, Handbook to Life in Ancient Greece. Oxford University Press, 1997.
“The Suicide of Socrates, 399 BC,” EyeWitness to History, www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (2003). Accessed December 2, 2019.