The Greek poet Homer is credited with being the first to write down the epic stories of 'The Iliad' and 'The Odyssey,' and the impact of his tales continues to reverberate through Western culture. Socrates, (born c. 470 bce, Athens [Greece]—died 399 bce, Athens), Greek philosopher whose way of life, character, and thought exerted a profound influence on ancient and modern philosophy. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Whether Plato's dialogues accurately represent Socrates' teachings continues to be debated but a definitive answer is unlikely to be reached. Socrates became suspect, not only for the actions of some of his associates but because his concepts of individualism seemed too revolutionary in the politically fraught times. Their mutual enmity became the subject of Aristophanes’ satirical play The Clouds. Of all these writings we have only the works of Plato, Xenophon, a comic image by Aristophanes, and later works by Aristotle to tell us anything about Socrates' life. He earned admiration for his ability to endure physical discomfort and for his fearlessness, particularly in saving the life of Alcibiades, a respected Athenian general. Updates? Socrates was the son of Sophroniscus, an Athenian stonemason and sculptor, and Phaenarete, a midwife. "use strict";(function(){var insertion=document.getElementById("citation-access-date");var date=new Date().toLocaleDateString(undefined,{month:"long",day:"numeric",year:"numeric"});insertion.parentElement.replaceChild(document.createTextNode(date),insertion)})(); Subscribe to the Biography newsletter to receive stories about the people who shaped our world and the stories that shaped their lives. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). We have also been recommended for educational use by the following publications: Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization registered in Canada. ",, The Apology: Socrates' Defense by Daniel Marrow. Socrates excoriated the Sophists for their pay-to-play philosophy. Shortly before dying, Socrates spoke his last words to Crito saying, "Crito, we owe a cock to Asclepius. His Socratic method laid the groundwork for Western systems of logic and philosophy. his influence on Alcibiades and Critias, who had betrayed Athens. For Socrates, Athens was a classroom and he went about asking questions of the elite and common man alike, seeking to arrive at political and ethical truths. Instead of proposing he be exiled, Socrates suggested he be honored by the city for his contribution to their enlightenment and be paid for his services. While many Athenians admired Socrates' challenges to Greek conventional wisdom and the humorous way he went about it, an equal number grew angry and felt he threatened their way of life and uncertain future. There is little known about her except for Xenophon's characterization of Xanthippe as "undesirable.". Are you not Ashamed of this? He was accordingly convicted and sentenced to death by poison. The Death of Socratesby Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825) (Public Domain) Socrates was widely hated in Athens, mainly because he regularly embarrassed people by making them appear ignorant and foolish. I tell you that virtue is not given by money, but that from virtue come money and every other good of man, public as well as private., Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta. Towards the end of his life, democracy was supplanted by the Thirty Tyrants for around one year, before being restored.

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