Socrates' enemies charged him with impiety because they saw him as a political liability; his philosophy contradicted the foundations of Athenian democracy, and two of his disciples were the primary instigators of revolts against the democracy in 411 and 404 B.C. Many of the notable men of the city detested Socrates because his manner of dialectical conversation caused them public embarrassment. Socrates also held religious views unorthodox for the time.Know More
Part of the charge against Socrates was his alleged disbelief in the gods of Athens. Contrary to what many of his detractors asserted, Socrates was not an atheist. But he did not believe in the traditional view of the Greek pantheon. Socrates believed that there was a single God, and he did not believe in a flawed, reproachable God like those depicted in Greek mythology.
Despite the claims of impiety, Socrates' indictment was politically motivated. Socrates did not believe in democracy. He believed that the wise should govern, and he did not think that the people at large had sufficient virtue or wisdom.
Socrates felt that it was democracy that led to Athens' downfall during the Peloponnesian War. He viewed Sparta as having a more exemplary form of government. Two of Socrates' disciples, Alibiades and Critias, led insurrections against the Athenian democracy. Athens' democratic leaders saw Socrates as a cause of political unrest.Learn more about Ancient Greece
Socrates was placed on trial and charged with impiety and corrupting the youth of Athens. These charges were due to his philosophical teachings and questions. He was sentenced to death and was executed by drinking hemlock.Full Answer >
Socrates is acknowledged as the father of Western philosophy, a great teacher who taught Plato, who in his turn taught Aristotle, Alexander the Great's teacher. Beyond philosophy, Socrates was a brave and skilled soldier who once saved the life of Athenian general Alcibiades.Full Answer >
Some of the strengths of Athenian democracy include making decisions based on the opinions of many rather than a few, giving responsibility to more citizens and making records available for public examination. Weaknesses include the voters' ability to make poor decisions and be swayed by rhetoric and short office terms that made implementing policies difficult.Full Answer >
The famous Athenian philosopher Socrates was charged with two specific crimes: impiety and corruption of the youth. These charges stemmed from controversial decisions Socrates made as member of the Boule, decisions that ultimately upset influential figures and likely outraged public sentiment as well.Full Answer >