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Socrates: His Life and Times. The Delian League. Thasos. Lesbos. Delos. Naxos. Melos. Background . A central figure in western philosophy, but what is known about him comes from two of his pupils, Plato and Xenophon, He lived (469-399)the Golden Age of Athens.

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Socrates his life and times
Socrates:His Life and Times

The Delian League







  • A central figure in western philosophy, but what is known about him comes from two of hispupils, Plato and Xenophon,

  • He lived (469-399)the Golden Age of Athens.

  • Father, a sculptor and stone-mason. His mother was a midwife.


  • The wealthy Athenian Crito took him out of the stone-mason’s workshop andpaid for his education

  • He was a pupil of Anaxagoras

  • Attracted to the topics raised by the Sophists.

  • One dialogue of Plato has a young Socrates listening to Zeno of Elea and talking with him and Parmenides.

Philosophical mission
Philosophical mission

  • Chaerephon, went to the Delphic oracle asking if there was anyone who was wiser than Socrates, oracle responded that there was not.

  • Not feeling wise, Socrates cross-examined the ‘wise’ men of society. (statesmen, poets, artisans, and others.) He did NOT find them wise.

  • the pursuit of wisdom became Socrates’ full-time job

Socratic method
Socratic method

  • Socrates spent most of his time asking question about ethical issues.

  • He had a knack for asking questions exposing ignorance, hypocrisy, and conceit among his fellow Athenians,particularly in regard to moral questions.

  • argued that knowledge was virtue

The peloponnesian war
The Peloponnesian War

  • Disastrous twenty-seven year struggle (431-404 B.C.E.) between the rival Greek city-states of Athens and Sparta.

  • Socrates fought in this war and it defined him intellectually.

  • He was critical of Athenian democracy and Spartan Oligarchy

  • 3 of his former students were leaders associated with the downfall of Athens

The trial of socrates
The Trial of Socrates

  • An Athenian Democrat, Anytus, who suffered under Spartan control of Athens (when a puppet government of ‘30 tyrants’ led by a former student of Socrates was in charge.) brought charges against Socrates….

  • “Socrates is guilty of not believing inthe gods in which the state believes, but brings in other new divinities; he also wrongs bycorrupting the youth .”

Death of socrates
Death of Socrates

  • In his defense Socrates gave a spontaneous speech relying on reason, refuting all the charges one by one .

  • There were 501 men on the jury, and he was condemned by 60 votes.

  • The prosecutors proposed the death penalty, and Socrates had the opportunity to offer an alternative but antagonized the jury.

  • With his death from hemlock poison Socrates became the most famous of all philosophers