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    Why Socrates Died: Dispelling the Myths (Hardback) By (author) Robin Waterfield

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    DescriptionSocrates 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."

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  • Full bibliographic data for Why Socrates Died

    Why Socrates Died
    Dispelling the Myths
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) Robin Waterfield
    Physical properties
    Format: Hardback
    Number of pages: 288
    Width: 163 mm
    Height: 240 mm
    Thickness: 26 mm
    Weight: 474 g
    ISBN 13: 9780393065275
    ISBN 10: 0393065278

    B&T Merchandise Category: GEN
    B&T Book Type: NF
    BIC E4L: HIS
    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: T5.0
    B&T Modifier: Region of Publication: 01
    B&T Modifier: Academic Level: 05
    DC22: B
    B&T Modifier: Subject Development: 01
    BIC subject category V2: HB
    Libri: I-HP
    Ingram Subject Code: HP
    B&T General Subject: 431
    B&T Modifier: Subject Development: 04
    Warengruppen-Systematik des deutschen Buchhandels: 15540
    B&T Approval Code: A14202030
    B&T Modifier: Geographic Designator: 37
    DC22: 184
    BISAC V2.8: PHI002000, HIS002010
    DC22: 183/.2
    LC subject heading: ,
    BISAC region code:
    LC classification: B316 .W38 2009
    Thema V1.0: QDHA, NHD, NHC
    Illustrations note
    black & white illustrations, maps
    WW Norton & Co
    Imprint name
    WW Norton & Co
    Publication date
    19 June 2009
    Publication City/Country
    New York
    Review quote
    Starred Review. Of the many introductory studies on the Athenian judicial system, the trial of Socrates, the conflict between Athens and Sparta and the reasons that democracy gave way to oligarchy in Athens, this is among the clearest, most well-organized and most concise. "
    Back cover copy
    A revisionist account of the most famous trial and execution in Western civilization one with great resonance for American society today. In the spring of 399 BCE, Socrates stood trial in his native Athens. The court was packed, and after being found guilty by his peers, Socrates died by drinking a cup of the poison hemlock. But, Robin Waterfield asks in this provocative reinterpretation of one of the most famous court cases in world history, is this the whole story? Examining not only the actual records but placing Socrates in the historical context of an Athenian society in a state of moral decline, Waterfield provides a gripping portrait of our most enduring philosopher. Praise for Robin Waterfield s Xenophon s Retreat An excellent book. Robin Waterfield writes very well, in a style that is accessible and sophisticated. Barry Strauss, Cornell University, author of The Trojan War A timeless story as well as a vivid tale of its times. BBC History magazine"