Picture of Socrates
The Bettmann Archive
Socrates was a Greek philosopher who lived between 470-399 B.C. He turned Greek attention toward questions of ethics and virtue and away from those of the heavenly bodies.
Socrates spent much time in the Agora (marketplace) where he held
conversations with townspeople. Socrates believed that real truth could be found out through thought and collaboration with others. He was known for exposing ignorance, hypocrisy, and conceit. Despite having many followers, Socrates was disliked by most Athenians.
At the age of 70, he was convicted of atheism, treason and corruption of the young. He was sentenced to death by a jury of 500 fellow men. He refused several opportunities to escape from prison. This great man valued the law over his life, and so he chose to fulfill his sentence of death by drinking hemlock instead of leaving and living in banishment for the remainder of his life. An account of his death was recorded by Plato, one of Socrates' students, in his work Phaedo.
Socrates is best remembered for his courage and strong moral beliefs which manifested themselves in his lifestyle. Although Socrates did not dwell much on the heavenly bodies, his beliefs that searching could bring about understanding of the world and humans in it laid a foundation that is still very much a part of modern science.
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