#Socrates #Philosophy #Government #philosopher #trial #trialofsocrates #democratic #gods #corruptingtheyouth #athens #hemlock #suicide #eyewitness #history #historyofart #finger
The Suicide of Socrates, 399 BC
On a day in 399 BC the philosopher Socrates stood before a jury of 500 of his fellow Athenians accused of "refusing to recognize the gods recognized by the state" and of "corrupting the youth." If found guilty; his penalty could be death. Socrates was 70 years old and familiar to most Athenians.
Two of his students, Alcibiades and Critias, had twice briefly overthrown the democratic government of the city, instituting a reign of terror in which thousands of citizens were deprived of their property and either banished from the city or executed.
The jurors were next asked to determine Socrates' penalty. His accusers argued for the death penalty. Socrates was given the opportunity to suggest his own punishment and could probably have avoided death by recommending exile. Instead, the philosopher initially offered the sarcastic recommendation that he be REWARDED FOR HIS ACTIONS. When pressed for a realistic punishment, he proposed that he be fined a modest sum of money. Faced with the two choices, the jury selected death for Socrates.
The philosopher was taken to the near-by jail where his sentence would be carried out. Athenian law prescribed death by drinking a cup of poison hemlock. Socrates would be his own executioner.