Why Socrates Died: Dispelling the Myths
Socrates was tried and put to death in 399 BCE by his fellow Athenians, events that have subsequently become iconic. In this book, Robin Waterfield examines all the evidence in order to reach a greater understanding of the trial and execution.
Socrates was seen as an evil influence, seeming to support ideas against democracy and traditional Athenian beliefs. He was even blamed for the war with Sparta that had lasted almost thirty years. During his trial Socrates said nothing in his own defence; Athens was in turmoil, and its society so entrenched in religious sentiment that any misfortune could only be a sign from the gods. The fact that the Athenians had lost the war could only mean that the gods were angry and Socrates was the sacrificial lamb, a convenient scapegoat. It is impossible to ignore the similarity to another trial and execution occurring some four hundred years later.
From the author of Xenophon’s Retreat comes this fascinating study of the history behind the case against Socrates. A useful glossary, bibliography, and extensive notes complete this fine work. A real page-turner.