February 15: Socrates Sentenced to Death

On 15 February 399 BC, the Greek philosopher Socrates was sentenced to death.

Socrates is credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy. On that day, he stood in front of his fellow Athenians as he was being accused of “refusing to recognize the gods recognized by the state” and for “corrupting the youth.” Socrates anti-democratic views is what caused most of Athens to dislike him and at the time of the trial he was already 70 years old. Once he was found guilty the jurors argued over the penalty he would have to face and ultimately the decided to give him the death penalty.

Socrates would have to die from drinking poison hemlock and he would have to execute himself. Plato who was Socrates most famous student wrote a narrative about the event although he was not at the event. The narrative by Plato “What must I do?” will give you a great inside feel from what it must have been like to be in Athens at the time of all of this.

–Colin Elgas

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