Why Socrates Died: Dispelling the Myths

W. W. Norton & Company
1
Free sample

A revisionist account of the most famous trial and execution in Western civilization—one with great resonance for American society today. Socrates’ trial and death together form an iconic moment in Western civilization. In 399 BCE, the great philosopher stood before an Athenian jury on serious charges: impiety and “subverting the young men of the city.” The picture we have of it—created by his immediate followers, Plato and Xenophon, and perpetuated in countless works of literature and art ever since—is of a noble man putting his lips to the poisonous cup of hemlock, sentenced to death in a fit of folly by an ancient Athenian democracy already fighting for its own life. But an icon, an image, is not reality, and time has transmuted so many of the facts into historical fable.

Aware of these myths, Robin Waterfield has examined the actual Greek sources and presents here a new Socrates, in which he separates the legend from the man himself. As Waterfield recounts the story, the charges of impiety and corrupting the youth of Athens were already enough for a death sentence, but the prosecutors accused him of more. They asserted that Socrates was not just an atheist and the guru of a weird sect but also an elitist who surrounded himself with politically undesirable characters and had mentored those responsible for defeat in the Peloponnesian War. Their claims were not without substance, for Plato and Xenophon, among Socrates’ closest companions, had idolized him as students, while Alcibiades, the hawkish and notoriously self-serving general, had brought Athens to the brink of military disaster. In fact, as Waterfield perceptively shows through an engrossing historical narrative, there was a great deal of truth, from an Athenian perspective, in these charges.

The trial was, in part, a response to troubled times—Athens was reeling from a catastrophic war and undergoing turbulent social changes—and Socrates’ companions were unfortunately direct representatives of these troubles. Their words and actions, judiciously sifted and placed in proper context, not only serve to portray Socrates as a flesh-and-blood historical figure but also provide a good lens through which to explore both the trial and the general history of the period.

Ultimately, the study of these events and principal figures allows us to finally strip away the veneer that has for so long denied us glimpses of the real Socrates. Why Socrates Died is an illuminating, authoritative account of not only one of the defining periods of Western civilization but also of one of its most defining figures.
Read more
Collapse

About the author

Robin Waterfield, whose many translations include works by Plato, Plutarch, and Aristotle, currently resides on a farm in Greece. His career spans both academia and publishing.

Read more
Collapse
4.0
1 total
Loading...

Additional Information

Publisher
W. W. Norton & Company
Read more
Collapse
Published on
Jun 8, 2009
Read more
Collapse
Pages
288
Read more
Collapse
ISBN
9780393072907
Read more
Collapse
Read more
Collapse
Read more
Collapse
Language
English
Read more
Collapse
Genres
History / Ancient / Greece
Read more
Collapse
Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
Read more
Collapse
Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
Read more
Collapse

Reading information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

eReaders and other devices

To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.
The civilisation of the Ancient Greeks has been immensely influential on the language, politics, educational systems, philosophy, science and arts of Western culture. As well as instigating itself as the birthplace of the Olympics, Ancient Greece is famous for its literature, philosophy, mythology and the beautiful architecture- to which thousands of tourists flock every year.

This entertaining guide introduces readers to the amazing world of the Ancient Greeks. It offers a complete rundown of Greek history alongside fascinating insights into daily life in Ancient Greece and a captivating overview of Greek mythology. Readers will discover how this ancient culture came to be the cornerstone of Western civilisation and the enormous influence it has had on our language, politics, education, philosophy, science, arts and sport.

The history of Ancient Greece remains a wide topic of interest, particularly renowned for its influential and diverse culture This basic guide will allow greater access to this vibrant area of study, and provide a distinct and light-hearted approach to this vast area history Covers dozens of topics, including; the early civilisations, war & fighting, home & family, day-to-day life and much, much more!

About the author

Steve Batchelor is a lecturer in Classics at Richmond College and has been teaching ancient history for 10 years. He has written reviews for various publications, including History Today, and he has also been involved in running guided historical tours of Greece.

An introductory guide to the Archaic period in ancient Greece—the people, their society, and their culture. Excerpts from literary and other texts give voice to the interests, concerns, and emotions of the Archaic Greeks themselves.

This book provides a brief but comprehensive introduction to the society and culture of the Archaic period in the Greek world from c. 750 to c. 480 BCE. It focuses on the persistent and often-conflicting themes, topics, and controversies of the Archaic Age (e.g., elite and non-elite, religion and science, tradition and humanism). It seeks to lead the reader to a broader and deeper understanding of the period by placing themes and topics in a mutually supportive contextual network that will underscore their significance.

Archaic Greece: The Age of New Reckonings begins with a chapter on how sources for the period are evaluated and deployed, and goes on to offer a concise yet thorough historical overview of the Archaic period. Subsequent chapters cover polis and politics; war and violence; religion; science; philosophy; art; literature; festivals and games; social forces, values, and behaviors; and gender and sex.

The book:

Offers a novel approach to a very significant period that foregrounds literary evidence and the words voiced by Archaic Greeks, combining scholarship with readability; Conceptualizes Archaic Greek culture and society by focusing substantially on topics that supplement the history of the period; Combines diverse elements of society and culture, including religion, art, literature, games and festivals, gender, sexuality, and politics in order to develop a unique picture of Greece during the Archaic period; Includes a summarizing essay that draws chapters together, emphasizing the implications of their topics and themes.

Archaic Greece: The Age of New Reckonings should appeal to college-level instructors as a book to assign to students enrolled in courses involving Archaic Greece and to others interested in this intriguing and pivotal period in ancient Greece.

Alexander the Great conquered an enormous empire--stretching from Greece to the Indian subcontinent--and his death triggered forty bloody years of world-changing events. These were years filled with high adventure, intrigue, passion, assassinations, dynastic marriages, treachery, shifting alliances, and mass slaughter on battlefield after battlefield. And while the men fought on the field, the women, such as Alexander's mother Olympias, schemed from their palaces and pavilions. Dividing the Spoils serves up a fast-paced narrative that captures this turbulent time as it revives the memory of the Successors of Alexander and their great contest for his empire. The Successors, Robin Waterfield shows, were no mere plunderers. Indeed, Alexander left things in great disarray at the time of his death, with no guaranteed succession, no administration in place suitable for such a large realm, and huge untamed areas both bordering and within his empire. It was the Successors--battle-tested companions of Alexander such as Ptolemy, Perdiccas, Seleucus, and Antigonus the One-Eyed--who consolidated Alexander's gains. Their competing ambitions, however, eventually led to the break-up of the empire. To tell their story in full, Waterfield draws upon a wide range of historical materials, providing the first account that makes complete sense of this highly complex period. Astonishingly, this period of brutal, cynical warfare was also characterized by brilliant cultural achievements, especially in the fields of philosophy, literature, and art. A new world emerged from the dust and haze of battle, and, in addition to chronicling political and military events, Waterfield provides ample discussion of the amazing cultural flowering of the early Hellenistic Age.
"We Greeks are one in blood and one in language; we have temples to the gods and religious rites in common, and a common way of life." So the fifth-century historian Herodotus has some Athenians declare, in explanation of why they would never betray their fellow Greeks to the enemy, the "barbarian" Persians. And he might have added further common features, such as clothing, foodways, and political institutions. But if the Greeks knew that they were kin, why did many of them side with the Persians against fellow Greeks, and why, more generally, is ancient Greek history so often the history of internecine wars and other forms of competition with one another? This is the question acclaimed historian Robin Waterfield sets out to explore in this magisterial history of ancient Greece. With more information, more engagingly presented, than any similar work, this is the best single-volume account of ancient Greece in more than a generation. Waterfield gives a comprehensive narrative of seven hundred years of history, from the emergence of the Greeks around 750 BCE to the Roman conquest of the last of the Greco-Macedonian kingdoms in 30 BCE. Equal weight is given to all phases of Greek history -- the Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic periods. But history is not just facts; it is also a matter of how we interpret the evidence. Without compromising the readability of the book, Waterfield incorporates the most recent scholarship by classical historians and archaeologists and asks his readers to think critically about Greek history. A brilliant, up-to-date account of ancient Greece, suitable for history buffs and university students alike, Creators, Conquerors, and Citizens presents a compelling and comprehensive story of this remarkable civilization's disunity, underlying cultural solidarity, and eventual political unification.
©2019 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google|Location: United StatesLanguage: English (United States)
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.