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A Brief Overview Of Greek Philosophy: Socrates

754 words - 3 pages

History. The growing power of Athens had frightened other Greek states for years before the Peloponnesian War broke out in 431. During the war, Pericles died in the plague of Athens (429); fortunes of war varied until a truce was made in 421, but this was never very stable and in 415 Athens was persuaded by Alcibiades, a pupil of the Athenian teacher, Socrates, to send a huge force to Sicily in an attempt to take over some of the cities there. This expedition was destroyed in 413. Nevertheless Athens continued the war. In 411 an oligarchy ("rule by a few") was instituted in Athens in an attempt to secure financial support from Persia, but this did not work out and the democracy was soon restored. In 405 the last Athenian fleet was destroyed in the battle of Aegospotami by a Spartan commander, and the city was besieged and forced to surrender in 404. Sparta set up an oligarchy of Athenian nobles (among them Critias, a former associate of Socrates and a relative of Plato), which because of its brutality became known as the Thirty Tyrants. By 403 democracy was once again restored. Socrates was brought to trial and executed in 399.Ancient Greece--------------------------------------------------------------------------------PlatoSocrates (469-399), despite his foundational place in the history of ideas, actually wrote nothing. Most of our knowledge of him comes from the works of Plato (427-347), and since Plato had other concerns in mind than simple historical accuracy it is usually impossible to determine how much of his thinking actually derives from Socrates.Ancient Greece Reader--------------------------------------------------------------------------------The Apology of SocratesThe most accurate of Plato's writings on Socrates is probably the The Apology. It is Plato's account of Socrates's defense at his trial in 399 BC (the word "apology" comes from the Greek word for "defense-speech" and does not mean what we would think of as an apology). It is clear, however, that Plato dressed up Socrates's speech to turn it into a justification for Socrates's life and his death. In it, Plato outlines some of Socrates's most famous philosophical ideas: the necessity of doing what one thinks is right even in the face of universal opposition, and the need to pursue knowledge even when opposed.Socrates wrote nothing because he felt that knowledge was a living, interactive...

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